Still, France had to come back with a goal to record their opening game win after Craig Goodwin gave Australia an early lead in the ninth minute. Giroud found the nets on either side of the goal before and after the break. Kylian Mbappe Adrien Rabiot scores after leveling up after Goodwin’s shocking early opening.
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Les Bleus are the first champions since Brazil in 2006 to win their inaugural match, putting them already well positioned to advance from the group stage, failing Italy in 2010, Spain in 2014 and Germany in 2018.
Losing to defender Lucas Hernandez with a knee injury, France have three points after a 0-0 draw on Tuesday and are two points ahead of Tunisia and Denmark.
It wasn’t the best start that France had expected at the Al Janoub stadium.
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Goodwin hit the ball from the middle of Mathew Leckie to the roof of the net from the right, and Lucas Hernandez grabbed his right knee after being beaten nine minutes later. Hernandez’s brother Theo came in as a backup and France continued to struggle to create space while threatening only Mbappe on their left flank.
Australia was much more direct, making the most of Les Bleus’ non-existent midfield.
However, it was Rabiot who leveled up in 27th, leaving behind the mark to go home from the middle of Hernandez.
While Mbappe was still moving in the centre, the Australian defense had one more problem to deal with and that came to light when Paris St Germain’s striker was picked up by Rabiot and Rabiot slid the ball for Giroud to touch it.
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They played more freely from then on, Antoine Griezmann’s low shot went a bit out and Mbappe swung his attempt over the bar as he raced to meet Griezmann’s center from the right.
Australia kept France on the alert, and shortly before halftime, Jackson Irvine’s header hit Hugo Lloris’ right post after a rebound.
Mbappe caused more chaos early in the second half, but in the first half the ‘Who are you?’ To him with a header in the 68th minute.
Three minutes later, Giroud made his way home diagonally from Mbappe and then fell on his back in disbelief and was flanked by his teammates in a goal celebration that lasted longer than usual, adding an exhilarating air to France’s win.
Owing to Benzema’s absence, Giroud made 115 international appearances to score 51 goals, while Henry needed 123 from 1997-2010.
There were more chances for France with Hernandez and Ibrahima Konate, but the result was satisfying enough considering their 2002 championship started with a 0-1 loss to Senegal and then followed by a first-round exit.
Didier Deschamps’ France team will face Denmark on Saturday and Australia will face Tunisia on the same day.
(with input from agencies)