Olivier Giroud and France pick up in Qatar where they left off in Russia

The striker was central to France’s triumph at the World Cup in 2018. He will be every bit as crucial this time aroundBy Eric Devin for Get French Football NewsNo Ballon d’Or winner, no problem. Despite Karim Benzema’s obvious talent, the Real Madrid striker’s absence may prove a blessing in disguise for France. The defending world champions cruised to a 4-1 win over a lacklustre Australia to kick off their tournament.Australia offered far less than the side that France struggled to break down in the group stage in Russia four years ago, but the fact that Didier Deschamps’ team managed to score four goals while Kylian Mbappé was slightly off the boil shows how dangerous they will be in this tournament. True to form, it was Olivier Giroud – a player who was once mocked by Benzema as a “go kart” compared to his own Formula One car – who played the lead role in a rejigged 4-2-3-1. With a pair of well taken finishes, the Milan striker drew level with Thierry Henry as his country’s all-time leading scorer on 51 goals.

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