QATAR: France (Les Bleus) came from behind to defeat Australia 4-1 in Group D on Tuesday, ending rumours of a holders’ curse. Olivier Giroud scored twice to join the ranks of France’s all-time leading scorers.
At Al Janoub Stadium, Australia took a startling early lead when Craig Goodwin brilliantly finished off Mathew Leckie’s cross after nine minutes. However, France drew even when Adrien Rabiot headed in a goal, and Giroud’s tap-in gave them the lead at the break.
Giroud tied Thierry Henry for the most goals in France’s history with his 51st international goal, three minutes after Kylian Mbappe’s glancing header in the 68th minute.
France has already put itself in a solid position to move on from the group stage, something that Italy in 2010, Spain in 2014, and Germany in 2018 failed to do. Les Bleus is the first defending champions to win their opening encounter since Brazil in 2006.
As a result of Tunisia and Denmark’s goalless draw earlier in the day, France now leads the group. It will also be a big boost for Didier Deschamps’ team after injury absences dominated the lead-up to their successful championship defence in Russia in 2018.
Following an injury sustained in training on Saturday, Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema joined a long list of absentees that already featured Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante.
For the Indian fans, here are the upcoming matches today in the Indian Standard time zone:
Morocco vs. Croatia at 3:30 p.m. (Group F)
Germany vs. Japan at 6:30 p.m. (Group E)
Spain vs. Costa Rica at 9.30 p.m. (Group E)