Les Blues dismantle Socceroos after foiling a spirited start by the latter.

Didier Deschamps’ World Cup title defenders beat Australia by a dominant scoreline of 4-1 in the second game of Group D in the Qatar World Cup 2022. Australia began the match on a sweet note, stunning the injury-stricken French side as Goodwin sneaked in at the far post and finished off Matt Leckie’s cross. Shortly afterwards, Rabiot rose highest to turn in a beautiful delivery from Theo Hernandez to equalise for the World Champions. It took only five minutes to double their lead and this time Rabiot turned provider. He dispossessed Atkinson and put in on a plate for Giroud as the French went into the break with a one-goal lead.

After half–time France turned up their game and scored two more. Mbappe redeemed himself for his earlier misses as he turned in Dembele’s cross into the centre of the goal. Three minutes later he played an unselfish part in setting up Giroud for a thumping header for France’s fourth. Australia could barely push on as the game ended in favour of the French whose immense squad depth aided them.

Let us now take a look at Khel Now’s player ratings for the night:

France ratings

GK: Hugo Lloris – 6

Did not have any saves to make as he conceded the first goal due to a positional error and France rarely allowed Australia in their half after that. 

RB: Benjamin Pavard – 6.5

Played 89 minutes but was not very defensively active as he had the lone interception to talk about. However, he did have a 95% passing accuracy as he came off in the 89th minute for Barca centre-back Jules Kounde.

CB: Dayot Upamecano – 7.5

Got a whopping 131 touches on the ball meaning the Bayern bulldog could be trusted with the ball blindly. Was an absolute beast in defence fearlessly winning all five of his ground duels along with three of his aerial duels.   

CB: Ibrahima Konate – 7

Liverpool boy Konate was an equal monster in the heart of defence winning all three of his ground battles and all four of his aerial duels. His set-piece threat was also exhibited as he almost turned in a glanced-down header only for Matt Ryan to tip it outside.  

LB: Lucas Hernandez – N/A

Played only 13 minutes and came off injured after losing the challenge on Matthew Leckie who then went on to tee up Goodwin for the first goal of the game. Taken off and replaced by his brother Theo Hernandez.

CDM: Aurelien Tchouameni – 7.5

Midfield excellence from the new Real Madrid man as it felt like a walk in the park for him. Completing 96% of passes alongside cleanly winning all six ground duels (without any fouls committed) is no joke and Tchouameni exemplified that. Replaced by Youssouf Fofana in the 77th minute.  

CDM: Adrien Rabiot – 8

Australia proved to be a cakewalk for Rabiot as he had a successful outing with France after ages, scoring one and setting up another. Held his ground and waited for the right ball in the box for France’s opener as he headed it past Matt Ryan. Rabiot did not stop as he went on to create their second by dispossessing Atkinson, gliding past Harry Souttar and laying it on a silver platter for Olivier Giroud. Completed both of his pinged balls, and his only cross while also winning five tackles. 

RM: Ousmane Dembele – 7

Ripped Aziz Behich to shreds with his frightening pace and close control as he won three of his four attempted take-ons. His club form with FC Barcelona continued onto the national stage as he once again assisted Kylian Mbappe with a right-footed cross. Kingsley Coman proved to be a like-for-like replacement for him in the 77th minute.

CAM: Antoine Griezmann – 7.5

Although the Atletico Madrid talisman was not directly involved in the goals as he is, he played his part down to the t. The Frenchman completed six key passes as well as five of his six crosses. Only had three shots on goal out of which a single was on target.  

LM: Kylian Mbappe – 7.5

Burst out skills and tricks but opened a vital chance in front of goal as Griezmann tried to tee him up with a stunning trivela pass. Salvaged the same in the second half with a bullet header past Matt Ryan from Dembele’s cross. Was a little wasteful as he missed two big chances in total and completed only three out of his eight dribbles but was pivotal as a support, finding Giroud with a pinpoint cross for France’s fourth.

ST: Olivier Giroud- 8.5

The former Chelsea, Arsenal and now Milan frontman has always been in the shadows, looking to provide that silent but effective edge. Things are bound to change, however, as he is now equal with Thierry Henry as France’s all-time top scorer as his two goals against Australia from an xG of only 1.67 from a mere 19 touches exceeded expectations. While the first was an easy tap-in, the second was a well-timed header. Got a well-earned break in the 89th minute as Marcus Thuram came in his stead.     

Substitutes 

Theo Hernandez – 7

Added that extra dimension of pace to the team both defensively and offensively. Crossed the ball into the box for Rabiot’s equaliser and won six of his eight ground duels. The rapid left-back was too much to handle for the Australians as he was fouled four times more(4) than the number of fouls he committed (1).

Youssouf Fofana – 6.5

Completed all 18 of his passes and played in a withdrawn defensive midfielder role as he acted as a second layer of protection to the defence. 

Jules Kounde – N/A

Did not have too much to do as he only got nine touches on the ball.

Kingsley Coman- 6.5

The skilful speedster completed his only take-on after entering the field and mostly hugged the sidelines as his heatmap states.  

Marcus Thuram – N/A

Australia ratings

GK: Mathew Ryan – 6 

Former Brighton man and captain of Australia, Matt Ryan tried his best but could only do so much to save his compatriots from France’s finesse. Made two good saves but conceded four times. 

RB: Nathaniel Atkinson – 5

Poor showing from the Heart of Midlothian right-back as one of his errors led to a goal. Won only four of his 11 ground tackles and was dribbled past twice as he was taken off in the 85th minute for Milos Degenek.   

CB: Harry Souttar – 6

Committing no fouls is commendable but often it signals no defensive engagement. The same was Souttar’s case as he was dribbled past on one occasion and made only one interception throughout the match.

CB: Kye Rowles – 6.5

In stark contrast to his club teammate, Rowles was one of the reasons Australia did not concede any more goals. Won his only ground duel and 95 % of his passes.

LB: Aziz Behich – 6.5

Another important contributor in defence for the Socceroos as he made a brilliant goal-line clearance. Had one interception and blocked shots alongside five in-time clearances. 

CDM: Aaron Mooy- 6.5

The decorated Celtic and Brighton midfielder had a game to forget as he won five of his eight 50-50s but was still booked. Only two out of five accurate long balls and losing possession 13 times made it harder for Mooy to fit in as the lone holding midfielder.

RM: Craig Goodwin- 6.5

Did brilliantly to ghost into the space behind Upamecano for Australia’s opener. Was not very visible in attack afterwards as he managed to put all three of his crosses waywardly wide and went off in the 74th minute to give way to Garang Kuol. 

CM: Riley McGree – 6.5

Had a meagre 0.2 xG but his manner of playing was rather lackadaisical, losing possession seven times and committing a foul to retrieve the second ball thrice. Subbed off in the 73rd minute for Awer Mabil.

CM: Jackson Irvine – 5.5

Another weak link in the Socceroos’ midfield as he won one of his four aerial duels and two of his eight ground 50-50s. Lost possession a staggering 11 times and committed three fouls. Taken off for Keanu Baccus to enter the fray in the 85th minute after he was booked.

LM: Mathew Leckie – 6.5

Picked out Goodwin exquisitely with a well-placed low cross and was Australia’s brightest attacker against France with his active involvement out wide. Despite being reliant on the wide deliveries, Leckie completed one of his three take-ons and played the full 97 minutes.

ST: Mitchell Duke – 5.5

Had one chance and missed it as he was outmuscled and outplayed by the Konate-Upamecano combo. The tall striker only managed to win one of his four aerial duels against Upamecano and came off in the 56th minute with only one shot, seven completed passes and a booking.

Substitutes 

Milos Degenek – 6.5

Did better than Atkinson as he won his only ground duel and completed all 10 of his passes from only 12 touches.

Awer Mabil – 6

Ineffective in midfield as he lost both of his aerial duels and conceded possession four times. Only eight completed passes gave him no respite.

Garang Kuwol – 6.5

Almost absent as he got just five touches to his name and completed two passes. Failing to complete his only take-one made things worse.

Jason Cummings – 6

Not much to be said except the fact that he was on the losing end of his only ground and aerial duel. Only one completed long ball and eight touches do not really justify the 34 minutes of action that he saw.

Keanu Baccus – 6

Lost possession thrice and could not match up to the French midfield.

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