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Reigning champions France subdue Australia with 4-1 win at World Cup

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By Euronews  with AP, Reuters
France's Olivier Giroud celebrates the win against Australia after the end of the World Cup group D football match between France and Australia. Tuesday, 22 November 2022.
France's Olivier Giroud celebrates the win against Australia after the end of the World Cup group D football match between France and Australia. Tuesday, 22 November 2022.   -   Copyright  Christophe Ena/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

Defending champions France saw their World Cup journey get off to a stellar start after subduing Australia with a 4-1 victory on Tuesday.

The match began with an Australian lead, after Craig Goodwin scored a goal in the ninth minute.

But the tide started turning in France's favour shortly afterwards, as France midfielder Adrien Rabiot equalised with a powerful header in the 27th minute and set up Giroud’s first goal shortly after.

France's success showed the team could cope without its star striker. In Karim Benzema’s absence, Kylian Mbappé scored a goal and set up the second of Olivier Giroud’s two goals, helping lead "Les Bleus" to their win against the "Socceroos".

Giroud's header in the 71st minute has led him to equal Thierry Henry’s national record of 51 goals --- a record he could break when France faces Denmark on Saturday.

"It’s not just about chasing records but what he always does on the field," team coach Didier Deschamps said. "He’s a very important player for us."

In response to France's win, Australian coach Graham Arnold acknowledged the strength of the opposing team, which is ranked fourth in the world by FIFA.

"They're world champions for a reason," he said. "The first half we did well, second half we ran out of legs a bit."