France avoid a potential banana skin, as Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud inspire a 4-1 victory over Australia on opening day in Group D.
The reigning World Champions lineup was as star studded as always, with Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris captaining the side, as well as PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele headlining the attack.
Australia’s starting eleven was quite the contrast to the reigning World Cup champions, as Celtic midfielder Aaron Mooy and former Brighton and Arsenal goalkeeper Mat Ryan were the standout names, with Mathew Leckie and Craig Goodwin the dangermen out wide for the Socceroos.
It was the Aussies who surprisingly struck first in the game, as 10 minutes into the game, Mathew Leckie brought down a superb pass from Souttar, knocked the ball past Lucas Hernandez before picking out Goodwin at the back post who fired high into Lloris’ net. Lucas Hernandez would have to be subbed off due to injury, and was replaced by his brother, Theo.
10 minutes later, the Socceroos came close to doubling their lead, as Mitchell Duke picked up a loose pass from Theo Hernandez, but the striker's shot from long range narrowly missed the France goal.
Australia were left to rue that missed chance, as 5 minutes later Adrien Rabiot scored to level the game up. A corner kick eventually fell to Hernandez outside the box, who picked out Rabiot in the box, and the Juventus midfielder headed past Mat Ryan to score his first France goal.
France were then ahead not long after, as a mistake in the Australia defence would see the ball fall to the feet of Rabiot who unselfishly squared it to Olivier Giroud who tapped home into an empty net.
The Socceroos almost levelled the game on the stroke of half time, as Middlesbrough’s Riley McGree dinked the ball to the back post, but Jackson Irvine’s header bounced back off the far post and was cleared away.
After coming out unchanged at half time, Les Bleus almost had the perfect start to the second half, as Theo Hernandez floated a ball into the box, but Olivier Giroud’s acrobatic effort sailed wide of the Australia goal.
France eventually got their third with 20 minutes remaining, as Ousmane Dembele’s cross found Kylian Mbappe between the two centre backs, and his glancing header bounced off the far post and into the back of the net.
It wasn’t long before Les Bleus had a fourth with Kylian Mbappe this time setting up the goal after his cross found Olivier Giroud for his second of the game, and the goal which meant he is now France’s joint all time leading goalscorer alongside Thierry Henry.
France would end the first round of matches sitting top of Group D following the 0-0 draw between Denmark and Tunisia earlier in the day, and look likely to avoid becoming the next victims of the “World Cup winners curse”.
Both sides play again on Saturday, with Australia facing Tunisia at 10am GMT, and France going up against fellow European side Denmark at 4pm GMT.