International: France thrash Australia 6-0 in Paris friendly
Last Updated: 11/10/13 11:39pm
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France warmed up for Tuesday's final World Cup qualifier with Finland with a 6-0 demolition of Australia at the Parc des Princes.
The result will heap huge pressure on Australia coach Holger Osieck, whose position was already under scrutiny following a 6-0 drubbing by Brazil in their last outing.
Last month's mauling at the hands of the World Cup hosts was Australia's biggest defeat in over 15 years, and few predicted the Socceroos would be in line for similar punishment when they stepped out in Paris on Friday night.
But the hosts had other ideas and raced into a 4-0 lead inside 30 minutes on the back of an Olivier Giroud brace, Yohan Cabaye strike and Franck Ribery penalty.
Cabaye's Newcastle team-mate Mathieu Debuchy made it five shortly after the restart before Karim Benzema - consigned to the bench with Didier Deschamps favouring Giroud and Loic Remy up front - completed the scoring after coming on at half-time.
Ribery got the rout under way when he slotted home a penalty in the eighth minute after David Carney was ruled to have handled in the area.
Arsenal striker Giroud opened his account in the 16th minute when he blasted high into the net from Ribery's centre.
Giroud made it 3-0 with a low finish after 27 minutes, this time after being set up by Samir Nasri, while Australia had barely recovered from that blow before Ribery set up Cabaye who made no mistake from 20 yards.
Debuchy got in on the act with a wonderful strike in the 47th minute, unleashing a sweet left-footed volley high into the net of the beleaguered Mitchell Langerak.
Ribery was again the provider as France made it six in the 51st minute, the Bayern Munich midfielder's low cross turned home by Benzema just moments after the Real Madrid man had entered the action.
With 40 minutes remaining Australia were staring into the abyss, but mercifully that was as bad as the situation got, with Langerak working wonders to keep out the rampant Bleus.
While the win will come as a boost for France as they seek to earn victory over Finland next week to keep up their slim hopes of beating Spain to top spot in Group I, defeat for Australia could well spell the end of Osieck's reign.
Although Australia have already qualified for the World Cup, the loss to Brazil and a disappointing showing at the East Asian Cup had seen Osieck subjected to strong criticism even before Friday night's drubbing - with the Football Federation Australia reportedly eyeing alternatives.
Dutchman Guus Hiddink, who led Australia at the 2006 World Cup, would be the frontrunner to take over while reports on Friday suggested former France and Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier could also be in the frame.