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France vs. Australia final score: Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud lead comeback for reigning World Cup champs

FIFA World Cup holders France made a winning start to their campaign in Al Wakrah with a 4-1 thumping of Australia to go top of Group D. Olivier Giroud scored twice as Adrien Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe also netted after Craig Goodwin had given the Socceroos an unexpected early lead. 

Matthew Leckie teed Goodwin up inside of 10 minutes to finish high into the net, but Rabiot leveled with his head after Theo Hernandez's ball in after replacing his injured brother Lucas. Rabiot then turned provider to give Giroud his 50th goal in French colors, and it was 2-1 at the break.

Mbappe headed home from Ousmane Dembele's cross to make it 3-1 midway through the second half and then provided Giroud's second of the night just three minutes later. The AC Milan man is now joint with Thierry Henry as Les Bleus' top scorer on 51 goals after a memorable night at Al Janoub Stadium.

Here are some takeaways:

Mbappe off the mark

Back for a second bite at the World Cup after his 2018 success with France in Russia, the Paris Saint-Germain man has started in ideal fashion with a goal. Mbappe headed in from Ousmane Dembele's cross and then teed Giroud up as the 23-year-old quickly found his feet in Qatar. With Denmark and Tunisia to come in Group D, he will be watched closely after this showing.

Giroud the great

Two goals for the AC Milan man who is now level with Thierry Henry as France's leading scorer on 51 goals. One was the easiest of finishes after Rabiot set him up and the other was a much more impressive header from Mbappe's ball in. Another page in history with Les Bleus for Giroud and signs that Deschamps' attacking setup could still bear fruit.

Rejuvenated Rabiot

Key in France's turnaround after going behind was the Juventus man. Rabiot headed home Theo Hernandez's ball in to level and then provided Giroud with an easy finish, but his all-round performance and maturity was arguably the most impressive aspect of his display. Now 27, he is the most experienced midfielder available to Deschamps and put Aurelien Tchouameni in the shade with a dominant display. More of that and Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante might not have a way back into the starting XI when fit.

France weak at the back

Questions were asked of France's defense before the World Cup kicked off and they were answered inside of 10 minutes as Australia took an early lead. Although Deschamps' men hit back through Rabiot and Giroud, the backline did not stabilize as expected and the Socceroos had a few more chances. Jackson Irvine's header touched the post which was a reminder of Les Bleus' defensive vulnerabilities which were not helped by the early exit of Lucas Hernandez through injury. We might only be one match in, but the French will not defend their title if they do not improve their rearguard.

Anybody's group?

France look as dominant as many expected and could make life difficult for Denmark on the next match day. Australia and Tunisia meet in what could decide a surprise challenger for group progression. Les Bleus have the advantage, but so much will now play on that clash with the Danish. A draw there could keep things reasonably open heading into the final matches.

Live updates

France 4-1 Australia

That is it! Final score from Al Janoub Stadium of France 4-1 Australia. Goodwin's early opener was canceled out by Rabiot and Giroud in the first half and then Mbappe and another Giroud strike in the second. It was perhaps a little harsh on the Socceroos who were spirited, but the French turned up the quality when it mattered. Deschamps' men successfully launch their attempted title defense in Qatar.

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Giroud again!

It is now 4-1 to France! Mbappe turns provider and tees Giroud up for a powerful header. That is now 51 goals with Les Bleus for the AC Milan. Giroud now level with Thierry Henry on 51 goals as France's all-time leading scorers.


Mbappe goal!

France lead 3-1 in Al Wakrah and Australia's resistance has cracked. The PSG man heads in from Dembele's assist just moments after Griezmann was denied on the line. Les Bleus are turning a nightmare start into a fairly reassuring opening result.


Back underway

The second half has started in Al Wakrah and France lead 2-1 against Australia as the World Cup holders bid to avoid falling foul of the defending champions' curse.


Half time (France 2-1 Australia)

Defending titleholders France lead Australia 2-1 at half time in Al Wakrah with Adrien Rabiot key for Les Bleus. The Socceroos took a surprise lead when Matthew Leckie teed up Craig Goodwin to fire home at Al Janoub Stadium inside of 10 minutes. However, the defending champions pulled level on the half hour as Theo Hernandez provided Rabiot with a headed finish after brother Lucas was forced off injured. Rabiot then turned provider just five minutes later as he played Olivier Giroud in for his 50th international goal. Although it has not been a straightforward start, the French are back in control after a brief brush with opening day disaster. 


Mbappe miss!

Great chance for France to grab a third, but Mbappe cannot get it on target. This game is really livening up! Irvine's header touches the post before going out of play. 


France now lead!

Incredible turnaround in Al Wakrah. Rabiot levels and then tees up Giroud to make it 2-1! Les Bleus suddenly find themselves in front after a shaky start. Rabiot, in particular, very impressive. The Juventus man growing in confidence and importance at international level. Giroud gets a rare World Cup goal too -- his 50th for his country! 


France level!

Rabiot heads in from Theo Hernandez's ball in and we are all square at Al Janoub Stadium at 1-1! Two goals inside the opening 30 minutes off the back of two consecutive goalless draws. Rabiot coming up big as the elder statesman of this French midfield. Deschamps delighted and relieved on the bench! 


Rami on Mbappe

Adil Rami was a key figure behind the scenes when France won the World Cup in 2018 and he has been speaking about former international teammate Kylian Mbappe as Rami moves into punditry during the tournament.

"I am so proud of Kylian," he told Le Parisien. "I also want to pity him, though. At his age, so much pressure staring you down is almost inhuman. Everything around him is distorted and nobody at that age can be amture enough to resist. I recently wrote to him to wish him the maximum number of Ballon d'Or awards because the only question is how many times he will win it. In France, we do not protect him. Everyone supports Ronaldo in Portugal and Messi in Argentina, but not us in France. That saddens me."


Australia strike first!

Is there another shock on the cards? The Socceroos take the lead 1-0! Craig Goodwin teed up to smash home by Matthew Leckie's low ball in. Can the French respond? Lucas Hernandez was hurt too and his brother Theo has replaced him. Not what Deschamps and his players had in mind so early on.


Underway in Al Wakrah

The game has kicked off and France have applied some early pressure and already won a corner. What will the next 90 minutes bring on a dramatic day in Qatar? Les Bleus already looking to get Kylian Mbappe in behind the Australian defense, but the Aussies are holding firm so far.


French touch

Today's big news has already involved a Frenchman as the mastermind behind Saudi Arabia's stunning 2-1 World Cup win over Argentina was none other than Herve Renard and there will be a national holiday to celebrate the result tomorrow. Could there be further French success coming up?


Deschamps on Benzema miss

"It is a big blow, of course," Deschamps told TF1 over the weekend. "Karim had done everything. It was during a sessions and it was almos innocuous. Sadly, exams confirmed a lesion which was too big for the time constraints we are under. Unfortunately, these things can happen in training. It is never the right time. It was not a relapse. It does not make you smile. We already lost Christopher and everyone was very sad about that. Now Karim, but we have an aim and the squad knows what were are up against from Tuesday. This is a quality group and I have confidence in them."

Pushed on why he did not replace Benzema, Deschamps responded: "Because I decided, simply." The French tactician also confirmed that the Real man "has already left" and Deschamps also feels that he has "eight" capable attacking options.


Starting XIs

The confirmed lineups for both sides at Al Janoub Stadium are now in...

France: Lloris (c); Pavard, Konate, Upamecano, Lucas Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot; Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud.

Australia: Ryan (c); Atkinson, Souttar, Rowles, Behich; McGree, Mooy, Irvine; Leckie, Duke, Goodwin.


Another shock on the cards?

Lionel Messi and Argentina were stunned by Saudi Arabia earlier today in Group C in one of the all-time World Cup upsets. Messi's PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe takes to the field shortly and will be keen to avoid a similar fate. Denmark and Tunisia's draw could open Group D up more than expected, so can the Socceroos force Les Bleus to stumble early on in Qatar?


France injuries

A reminder of the host of star names unavailable for Les Bleus in Qatar due to injury and fitness issues...

Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig)

Presnel Kimpembe (PSG)

Paul Pogba (Juventus)

N'Golo Kante (Chelsea)

Mike Maignan (AC Milan)


Probable France XI

Deschamps is expected to go with an interesting four-man defense with four central defenders. Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez are set to play either side of Ibrahima Konate and Dayot Upamecano with Aurelien Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot occupying Pogba and Kante's former roles in midfield. Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe either side of Antoine Griezmann and just behind Olivier Giroud will add plenty of pace and the potential to profit from the AC Milan man's hard work through the middle. Captain, as always, will be Hugo Lloris in goal.

Expected XI in a rough 4-2-3-1 setup: Hugo Lloris (c); Benjamin Pavard, Ibrahima Konate, Dayot Upamecano, Lucas Hernandez; Aurelien Tchouameni, Adrien Rabiot; Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe; Olivier Giroud.

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