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Al Janoub Stadium

FIFA World Cup Match Report: France 4 Australia 1

Australia has gone down 4-1 to defending champions France in its opening game of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ at the Al Janoub Stadium on Wednesday morning (AEDT).

The Socceroos toiled and took a shock lead through Craig Goodwin but from there it was virtually one-way traffic with France’s undeniable quality evident for all to see.

Olivier Giroud scored a brace while Adrien Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe were also on target for Les Bleus.

Graham Arnold named a strong starting line-up for the opening group clash. Captain Mat Ryan was in goal with a back-four in front of him containing three FIFA World Cup debutants in Nathaniel Atkinson, Kye Rowles and Harry Souttar, as well as the experienced Aziz Behich.

Aaron Mooy and Jackson Irvine protected the defence in a double pivot with Riley McGree operating as the number 10. In attack, Mitch Duke was flanked by Goodwin and Mathew Leckie.

The Socceroos made the perfect start inside nine minutes to put the French behind, something the reigning champions have not experienced at this major tournament since 2014.

Souttar’s sweeping pass was controlled by Leckie and the winger whipped a low cross to the far post which Goodwin emphatically finished into the top corner for his second goal for his country.

That goal was the Socceroos’ fastest at a FIFA World Cup and first in open play since Tim Cahill’s volley against the Netherlands in 2014.

Craig Goodwin

In the build-up to the goal Lucas Hernandez appeared to sustain a knee injury and was replaced by his brother Theo.

Mitch Duke let fly from outside of the box and his long-range strike whistled past the post in a rare foray forward for the Green and Gold.

However, within a five-minute period Les Bleus overturned the deficit and their sustained pressure eventually paid off.

Rabiot first equalised off the second phase of a corner in the 27th minute, guiding his header home off Theo Hernandez’s incisive delivery.

A mistake at the back then proved costly, allowing Giroud the simplest of finishes into an empty net, with Rabiot this time turning provider from a deft flick from Mbappe.

Mbappe should have made it 3-1 on the stroke of half-time buy volleyed over the bar inside the six-yard box from.

But when Australia did look to get in behind of the French defence, they did appear vulnerable at times.

Irvine, on his 50th Socceroos appearance, saw a looping header clip the outside of the upright moments later from McGree’s cross. It looked to happen in slow motion with Hugo Lloris rooted to his spot.

The second-half began in a similar fashion to the first ’45 with Didier Deschamps’ side dominating and applying prolonged spells of pressure.

Australia’s rearguard was doing its best to contain the free-flowing attacking movement. This was demonstrated none more so than Rowles, who executed a perfect challenge to thwart Mbappe.

A desperate Behich denied Antoine Griezmann with a goal-line clearance but it mattered little with France firing two-quick goals soon after.

The Aussie’s resistance came unstuck again when Mbappe made it 3-1, nodding in Ousmane Dembele’s cross in off the post on 68 minutes.

Three minutes later Giroud netted his second with a foreceful header after a brilliant run and cross to the byline by Mbappe.

Arnold turned to Awer Mabil and Garang Kuol to inject a spark and some energy into the side.

However, by then the damage was done in a game which France took full control of in the second stanza.

The Socceroos will look to regroup ahead of their match against Tunisia on Saturday night (AEDT)

Graham Arnold Post-match Press Conference | France v Australia

Opta Insights 

  • Craig Goodwin's goal in the ninth minute was Australia's quickest in a World Cup match, and indeed the first time they've scored in the opening 10 minutes in the tournament.
  • Scored after eight minutes and 23 seconds, Craig Goodwin netted Australia’s earliest ever goal in a World Cup match, while it was the first time they went 1-0 up in a game in the tournament since 2010 against Serbia (Tim Cahill, 69th minute).
  • Olivier Giroud (36y 53d) and Hugo Lloris (35y 331d) today become the oldest two players to play for France in a World Cup match, both surpassing Fabien Barthez in 2006 (35y 11d).
  • Current holders France will attempt to become the third team to win back-to-back FIFA World Cups after Italy (1934-1938) and Brazil (1958-1962). However, the last three World Cup defending champions have been knocked out in the group stages (Italy 2010, Spain 2014, Germany 2018).
  • France have scored 4+ goals in consecutive World Cup matches for the first time. They're only the third team to do so at the World Cup this century, after Brazil in 2002 and Germany in 2010.
  • Kylian Mbappé, who has scored 12 goals in his last 11 appearances for France, became the youngest player to reach five World Cup goals for the nation, aged 23 years and 337 days.
  • Olivier Giroud scored his 50th and 51st goals for France, levelling Thierry Henry as the nation’s joint-top goalscorer of all-time (51). Aged 36 years and 53 days, he was the second-oldest player to score a brace at the World Cup, after Roger Milla, who netted a brace twice in 1990 for Cameroon while aged 38.
  • France conceded the opening goal in a World Cup match for the first time since the 2014 quarter-final (v Germany), while at eight minutes and 23 seconds, that opener was the earliest goal Les Bleus have conceded at the tournament since 1982 against England (Bryan Robson, 27 seconds).

Match Details

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Wednesday, 23 November 2022 (AEDT)
France 4 (Rabiot 27', Giroud 32', 71', Mbappe 68')
Australia 1 (Goodwin 9')
Al Janoub Stadium

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ - Group D Matchday 2

Tunisia v Australia
Date: Saturday, 26 November 2022
Venue: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Kick-off: 9:00pm (AEDT)
Watch: LIVE and FREE on SBS and SBS On Demand

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ - Group D Matchday 3

Australia v Denmark
Date: Thursday, 1 December 2022
Venue: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Kick-off: 2:00am (AEDT)
Watch: LIVE and FREE on SBS and SBS On Demand

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