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FIFA World Cup Group D Recap: France hits the ground running

France gets off to hot start while everyone else simmers.

France v Australia: Group D - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

A tale of complete opposites as the members of Group D took the field for the first time.

Denmark v.s. Tunisia

Denmark and Tunisia embarked on their World Cup journey as the nations met inside Education City Stadium.

Tunisia looked primed to notch the contest’s opening goal in the 23rd minute as Issam Jebali darted upfield to get onto a lobbed ball. Jebali got onto it and left the Denmark defense in the dust as he turned towards goal and slotted a shot past Kasper Schmeichel and into the bottom left corner.

The celebration was cut abruptly short as the assistant’s flag flew into the air and overturned the goal.

Tunisia again looked poised to get on the scoreboard in the 43rd minute as a pass into the box found Jebali, who attempted to chip Schmeichel. Schmeichel was alert enough to get a fingertip onto the chip, but it wasn’t enough as the ball deflected off Schemiechel’s hand and into the net.

Again, the celebration stopped short as the assistant referee signaled offsides in the lead-up to the goal as things returned to 0-0 for a second time.

Denmark finally got their chance in the 56th minute as a series of passes led to a forward pass to Mikkel Damsgaard, who attempted to find the back of the net but was denied by Aymen Dahmen. Damsgaard’s shot ricocheted off Dahmen and into the box.

Joakim Maehle pounced on the loose ball and sent a rocket of a shot toward goal, but it deflected off a Tunisian defender. Andreas Skov Olsen was at the right place at the right time as the deflected shot from Maehle landed directly at his feet and smashed the ball past the defense and into the net!

The assistant referee’s flag was raised for a third time as Damsgaard was in an offside position. The assistant referee’s flag made a case for the player of the game award.

An onside Andreas Christensen looked to get Denmark on the board in the 70th minute as he leaped into the air and headed the ball from the left side of the goal toward the bottom right corner. Christensen’s header was just a tad too far to the right as it slapped off the goalpost and away from danger.

Jesper Lindstrøm came close to finding the back of the goal as an overhit cross sizzled toward the upper left corner of the net. Aymen Dahmen was alert as he got both hands to the ball.

After multiple offside calls and a few good chances from both sides, nothing could separate both sides as things ended in a scoreless draw.

France v.s. Australia

After a series of injuries to key players and fears over a possible slump following their 2018 World Cup victory, France took to the field as they squared off against Australia inside the Al Janoub Stadium.

A scary situation in the 10th minute as French defender Lucas Hernandez fell to the pitch after sustaining a noncontact injury while attempting to dispossess the ball.

Hernandez’s injury opened space for Australia as Matthew Leckie sent a low-driven cross to Craig Goodwin, who lobbed the ball into the roof of the net.

Lucas Hernandez was slowly helped off the pitch as his younger brother, Theo, came on for him.

Adrien Rabiot leveled things for France in the 27th minute as he found himself wide open in front of goal as he leaped into the air and headed Theo Hernandez’s cross.

Rabiot with a display of selflessness in the 32nd minute as he drew Matt Ryan off his line before slotting the ball across the box to Olivier Giroud, who tapped the ball into an empty net to give France the lead.

Kylian Mbappé put his head to good use in the 68th minute as he headed Ousmane Dembélé’s cross into the net after taking a bounce off the left goal post.

Olivier Giroud tallied a second goal on the day as he headed home Mbappé’s cross with precision to push France’s lead to three.

Four unanswered goals for the French as they secured a dominant 4-1 victory over Australia.


France: 1-0-0, 3 points, +3 GD

Tunisia: 0-1-0, 1 point, 0 GD

Denmark: 0-1-0, 1 point, 0 GD

Australia: 0-0-1, 0 points, -3 GD