Ignition delay. If we had to be picky, it is in these terms that we would describe the victory of the Blues against the Australian Socceroos, this Tuesday, November 22, for their first match in Qatar. Didier Deschamps’ team, surprised at the start, took a good twenty minutes to enter their World Cup, before reassuring themselves and showing their talent to finally win (4-1).
Enterprising from the first minutes, the Australians, taking advantage of a faulty Benjamin Pavard in marking, scored their first goal in the 9th minute, through Craig Goodwin. A goal full of realism in front of a helpless Hugo Lloris. In the process, the side Lucas Hernandez leaves on injury, replaced by his brother Theo.
The French defense, weakened in the absence of its manager, Raphaël Varane, will therefore have yielded very quickly. The unprecedented duo of central defenders Konaté-Upamecano, lacking in automation, will have taken a good quarter of an hour before getting back in the saddle, like the rest of the team.
Rabiot and Giroud turn things around
The equalizer came from a long cross from Théo Hernandez headed by Adrien Rabiot (27th minute), before Olivier Giroud, so far transparent, restored the advantage to the Blues, on a decisive pass from this even Rabiot, five minutes later (32nd).
Remobilized, the men of Didier Deschamps no longer left the opposing half of the field in the first half and continued to press the Socceroos. Great unknown at the time of starting, the control of the midfield was to the advantage of the Blues. The Rabiot-Tchouaméni-Griezmann trio, unprecedented, answered many questions, being very clean technically and efficient in the recovery. The Blues, however, concluded this contrasting first half with a final scare: in added time, the Australian, Jackson Irvine saw his shot crash into the right upright of Hugo Lloris.
A more controlled second act
In the second half, the Blues initially contented themselves with spinning the ball, ignoring efforts to knock out the opponent, before Kylian Mbappé’s repeated accelerations ended up making the Australian net vibrate. The one on whom a lot of hopes rested in attack, after the package of the Golden Ball Karim Benzema, assumed his role by playing his speed to destabilize the opposing defense. It was on an uncrossed header at six meters, on a cross from Ousmane Dembélé, that he was first rewarded. (68th minute).
Three minutes later, Olivier Giroud dashed the last Australian hopes by scoring a brace, with an unstoppable header, on a cross from Mbappé. The AC Milan striker scored his 51st goal with France and thus joined Thierry Henry at the top of the ranking of tricolor scorers.
TO READ. 2022 World Cup: Australia, a very political outsider
Despite a failed start to the match, the French internationals were able to raise the bar to win by three goals. Faced with a tougher opponent, the team of Didier Deschamps will however have to raise their level of play. Next test against Denmark, opponent who has often foiled the Blues, from this Saturday, November 26th. The Blues will aim for a qualification for the 8th finals.