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Qatar 2022: Giroud equals Henry’s goals record as France cruise past Australia

Olivier Giroud became France’s joint all-time top scorer tonight as his brace helped the defending champions come from behind to beat Australia 4-1 in their opening Qatar 2022 World Cup fixture at the Al Janoub Stadium.

France had to recover from an early scare to dominate Australia and begin their World Cup defence with a comfortable victory.

France, who lost Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Karim Benzema to injury before the tournament, were stunned as Craig Goodwin opened the scoring on nine minutes.

Adrien Rabiot equalised before setting up Giroud for his 50th France goal.

Kylian Mpabbe then headed in the third before Giroud struck again to level Thierry Henry’s record.

To give Australia a shock lead in the ninth minute, Goodwin arrived at the back post to convert from a low Mathew Leckie cross, and France’s woes were compounded when Lucas Hernandez limped off to be replaced by younger brother Theo after seemingly twisting a knee in the build-up to the goal.

France levelled in the 27th minute, Rabiot’s powerful header from Theo Hernandez’s cross too strong for goalkeeper Mat Ryan to stop.

Rabiot was involved in the goal that put France ahead just five minutes later, as Nathaniel Atkinson was caught in possession trying to play out. Mbappe played in Rabiot, whose cross was turned home by Giroud.

The AC Milan striker was relieved to get on the scoresheet in the opening game having gone through the whole tournament four years ago without scoring.

France continued to dominate after the break, creating and missing several opportunities before breaking Australia’s resistance again in the 68th minute.

The lively Mbappe gave the holders a two-goal cushion when he got off the mark with a fine header from Ousmane Dembele’s cross.

Giroud, 36, then went on to match Henry’s record, with Mbappe putting in the cross which the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker headed home.

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