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Giroud becomes France’s joint-leading scorer in 4-1 victory over Australia

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Doha: Holders France survived an early shock to open their title defence with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Australia at Al Janoub Stadium.

Olivier Giroud grabbed his 50th and 51st international goals to move alongside Thierry Henry at the top of Les Bleus’ all-time scoring list, while Adrien Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe each contributed a goal and assist, reported fifa.com

Few could have foreseen such a comfortable night for the reigning champions when the Socceroos snatched a shock eighth-minute lead. Craig Goodwin’s expertly converted strike was the earliest goal scored against the French at a World Cup since Bryan Robson’s famous 27-second effort in 1982, and had some wondering if Argentina’s stunning loss to Saudi Arabia might not be the only shock of the day.

Rabiot, however, emerged as an unlikely first-half hero on his FIFA World Cup debut, first by heading home Theo Hernandez’s inviting left-foot cross and then in unselfishly teeing up Giroud for the simplest of finishes.

Mbappe then took centre stage in the second half, glancing in another superb delivery from Ousmane Dembele before producing a brilliant cross of his own for Giroud to power a record-equalling header past Mat Ryan.

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