France's Olivier Giroud scores the fourth goal against Australia during the World Cup group D match between France and Australia, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar. (AP/PTI Photo)
Following the loss to France in their FIFA World Cup 2022 opener, Australia head coach Graham Arnold said the quality of their opponents contributed to their win and his side was punished by their mistakes.
Olivier Giroud's brace and a stunning goal from Adrien Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe guided reigning champions France to 4-1 victory over Australia in the Group D match of the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar.
Arnold was quoted as saying by Sky Sports, "I think at the end of the day, the quality of the French team [was the reason for the win]. They are the previous champions for a reason. We started very well. Physically they were so much bigger, faster and stronger than us today. Overall, the boys did everything they could and that is all I can ask."
"We have built the belief and the energy and the focus in the last week since we have been in camp. The way we started, we believed. That is what we trained on - that type of goal. But we were punished by our mistakes. Their crosses were bang on target. That game is gone. It is good that the other result was a draw. Now it is about winning on Saturday. We have to get ready for it," added the coach.
Craig Goodwin put Australia ahead in the first 10 minutes of the match as he scored a stunning goal.
However, goals from Adrien Rabiot and Olivier Giroud gave France the lead before halftime, and Kylian Mbappe emerged as the game's standout player in the second half. He scored the third goal and provided Giroud with the perfect cross to score the fourth.
Injuries to France players in the lead-up to Australia's goal, including Lucas Hernandez, may have given France the impression that everything was working against them.
After quickly pulling his nation level with a goal, the superb midfielder changed roles, latching onto Mbappe's lovely flick to set up Giroud. For his 50th international goal, the seasoned striker only needed to put the ball in the goal.
With 51 goals for the men's national team, Giroud, 36, has now tied Thierry Henry for the most goals scored in France's history. The amazing Mbappe will undoubtedly surpass it one day.
Mbappe, however, took control in the second half and tormented the defence as France looked to increase their lead. Antoine Griezmann's attempt was blocked by a defender, but Mbappe was unstoppable and headed in Ousmane Dembele's right-wing cross off the post.
France will continue their title defence against Denmark on Saturday while Australia play Tunisia earlier that day.
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First Published: Nov 23 2022 | 12:29 PM IST