France coach Didier Deschamps had praise for four specific players after his side kicked off their FIFA World Cup campaign with a 4-1 win against Australia in Al Wukayr on Tuesday night.
Olivier Giroud scored twice to equal Thierry Henry’s record of 51 international goals, Adrien Rabiot scored one goal and created another, and Kylian Mbappe was simply too much for the Australian side to handle.
“(Mbappe)’s been one of the best players in the world for years now and he’s very confident, you can see that he’s calm and concentrated,” said Deschamps.
“I knew he’d be ready for the World Cup, he knows how to score goals and he can play as part of a team, even though he is a flair player,” he added,
The coach also praised Rabiot, saying he would have played even if Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante had not been injured, reports Xinhua.
“Adrien has already shown what he can do for France and is playing at a high standard, and I never had doubts about his skill or ability. He is good for balance, he is intelligent, he wins the ball wins headers and scores goals; he’s a very important player for the team,” commented the coach, who said he’d taken off Giroud to allow him to rest.
“Olivier Giroud did what he does best and scored goals, we have another match in four days’ time and we had scored four goals, it’s great for him that he scored, but leaving the pitch allowed him to rest,” he said.
Deschamps also praised Antoine Griezmann’s “intelligence and great technical ability and effort.”
“Things usually work when you have great, intelligent players,” he said.
The only disappointment was an injury to defender Lucas Hernandez, who went off early with a possible groin injury.
“I think it’s quite serious. We’re waiting for further tests, but unfortunately, I think it’s serious,” admitted the coach.
Australia head coach Graham Arnold accepted the defeat and said he had nothing he could criticize his players for.
“They are world champions for a reason. We started the game well, but physically they were bigger, faster and stronger. The boys did all they could and that’s all I can ask,” he said.
Arnold admitted that his side had struggled to deal with Kylian Mbappe. “How do you stop someone so quick? It’s very difficult,” he admitted, before turning his attention to Saturday’s game against Tunisia.
“We’ve built the belief and energy and focus and the way we started (the game). We got punished for our mistakes and (France’s) crosses were right on target. It’s good the other result (0-0 between Tunisia and Denmark) was a draw and now we have to get ready for it,” he concluded.