DOHA, Qatar — Olivier Giroud joined Thierry Henry as France’s all-time leading goalscorer as they kicked off their World Cup defense with a 4-1 win over Australia on Tuesday.
Craig Goodwin scored just nine minutes earlier to give Australia a stunning lead at Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar.
Lucas Hernandez, the left-back of the French national team, who has strengthened his strength in the tournament, was injured in the attack that led to the goal.
However, they recovered and equalized through Adrien Rabiot before Giroud took the lead with an easy finish for his 50th international goal in the 32nd minute.
Kylian Mbappe got on the scoresheet in the second half and Giroud’s winner equaled Henry’s record of 51 goals for France.
Denmark and Tunisia lead Group D after a 0-0 draw.
France coach Didier Deschamps said: “We could have scored more goals, but it’s good to score four goals. It’s a really good start for us.”
AC Milan veteran Giroud, 36, has made 115 appearances and is the oldest player to score for France at the World Cup.
However, if Karim Benzema was fit, he wouldn’t be playing here.
But the Ballon d’Or winner, who picked up a thigh injury the day before the tournament, played into the hands of Giroud, who was a key player for Deschamps at the 2018 World Cup in France but did not score in Russia. .
“He’s been playing at the highest level for so many years and he’s been successful even when no one believed him,” teammate Benjamin Pavard said.
“I’m very happy for him because he’s a great guy. I hope he continues and breaks more records.”
There is not a single Benzema for Les Bleus, who left midfielders Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante four years ago.
Center back Raphael Varane has not been out of action since picking up a foot injury while playing for Manchester United a month ago.
Hernandez injury blow
Australia stunned the world champions by scoring in the first game.
Matthew Leckie controlled the ball on the right, eluded Lucas Hernandez and Goodwin sent a low ball over the bar into the roof of the net.
Hernandez injured his right knee trying to stop Leckie and helped the Bayern Munich defender undergo tests while his brother Theo came on.
Hernandez Jr. didn’t have the best introduction, giving the ball away and allowing Mitch Duke’s long shot to just go wide.
He did, however, score the equalizer in the 27th minute — taking in Antoine Griezmann’s right-wing corner, but the ball found its way to Hernandez on the left and Rabiot’s cross was met by Rabiot.
Just before Mbappe made it 3-1 midway through the second half, Griezmann cleared the ball off the line and headed home Ousmane Dembele’s pass.
Then, in the 71st minute, Mbappe scored a historic goal as a player when France got his fourth goal and scored on Giroud’s goal.
After all the injuries, and after seeing what happened to Argentina, it was a good night for France, but it was an emotional night for the Football team.
“Overall the boys did their best, that’s all I ask,” said their coach Graham Arnold.