Olivier Giroud joined Thierry Henry as France's all-time leading goal scorer with 51 goals after scoring a brace as holders France recovered to beat Australia 4-1 and get their defense of the World Cup off to a winning start Tuesday.

Oliver Giroud scores his 51st goal for France.

At the age of 36, veteran AC Milan striker Giroud, who has 115 caps, is the oldest player to score for France at a World Cup breaking Zidane Zidane's record as the oldest French goal scorer of all time.

Yet he almost certainly would not have been playing here had Karim Benzema been fit.

Instead, the withdrawal of the Ballon d'Or winner with a thigh injury on the eve of the tournament has played into the hands of Giroud, who was a key player for coach Didier Deschamps in France's triumphant 2018 World Cup campaign but didn't score in Russia.

Australia took a shock lead at Al Janoub Stadium with the game just nine minutes old when Craig Goodwin scored. Giroud had been on the hunt from the start. The 36-year-old forward endured a barren 2018 finals and the record books were beckoning. He headed one attempt high, but minutes later made it count when Atkinson was caught out of possession.

Two quickfire goals in the second half put the game to bed. France bore down and Australia struggled to clear their lines. They failed entirely in the 68th minute when Mbappé squeezed between the two centre‑backs in the nick of time to head home Dembélé’s cross.

Mbappé then turned provider, dropping the shoulder and darting inside for a cross that gave Giroud his record‑equaller. He was subbed off late to warm applause.

This display was not without hairy moments, most notably when Irvine hit the post while Lloris simply stood there and watched, as if in slow motion. He had never been luckier for that lick of paint.

The more wasteful moments, too, will be tested by stronger opposition. Griezmann shot wide, Mbappé hit row Z in front of an open goal and an overhead effort from Giroud was askew.

But it already seems likely France will become the second champions in the past five World Cup tournaments to advance from the group stage.