Qatar 2022: France begin their title defence in style
France FIFA World Cup Australia

The 2018 World Cup winners France have begun their title defence in style after coming from behind to put Australia to the sword.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is picking up the pace with amazing matches unravelling day by day. France have now joined England as the highest scoring teams of the tournament after putting four past the Socceroos of Australia.

The game delivered on its promise to be a breeze for the French, but it started on a scary note. An early goal thanks to excellent play from the Socceroos stirred memories of the Argentina loss to Saudi Arabia, which happened only a few hours earlier.

It was also reminiscent of their outing in the 2002 World Cup when, after winning the 1998 edition, they lost on the opening day of the tournament in which they were supposed to be defending their title.

Australia outclassed at every turn

Australia started the game on the front foot, pegging France back to score in the 10th minute of the game. Harry Souttar played an amazing diagonal from defence to Matthew Leckie, who beat Lucas Hernandez before playing a beautiful cross to find Craig Goodwin unmarked at the far post to slot the first goal of the game past Hugo Lloris.

Hernandez, whose knees buckles under him as he tried to cut off Leckie, had to be taken off, adding to France's long list of injured players. His younger brother, Theo, came on to replace him and put in a monstorus shift. It was all him for France's equaliser, which came in the 27th minute after a sequence of attack in which he also played a key role.

The AC Milan man won the second ball after a France corner and put in a superb cross which was met by Adrien Rabiot to restore parity for the Europeans. From then on, it became a walk in the park for France, whose constant attacks eventually led to the tie breaker only minutes later.

The Australians were trying to play out from the back but failed woefully with the French lurking. Rabiot steals the ball a few yards out of the penalty area, then places a clean pass that takes out the Australian defence to reach Olivier Giroud, who tapped into an empty net for his 50th international goal.

The second half started with the same energy that the first half ended, as France continued to pepper the Australian defence. Eventually, Kylian Mbappe got his goal and set up Giroud's second and 51st international goal to tie Thierry Henry for the most goals scored for Les Bleus in history.

The Socceroos can take comfort and credit from their first-half performances, however, but France's excellent full-back play outshone their tactical setup. There is no disgrace going down 4-1 to the world champions, but it is going to be hard to pick up the paces against Denmark and Tunisia.

France, meanwhile, have the challenge of Denmark up next while Australia will hope to pick up a result against Tunisia to keep their chances of getting out of the group stages.