Rabiot's spectacular renaissance continues at the World Cup

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Rabiot's spectacular renaissance continues at the World Cup
Rabiot's spectacular renaissance continues at the World Cup
Rabiot's spectacular renaissance continues at the World Cup
Profimedia
France midfielder Adrien Rabiot (27) is enjoying quite the renaissance at the World Cup, four years after refusing to be called up as a reserve player for the tournament in Russia.

He made an instant impact on Tuesday, scoring the first and setting up France's second goal in their 4-1 comeback win against Australia.

Rabiot's influence on the side was comparable to that of Paul Pogba, who he is effectively replacing in the starting line-up after his Juventus teammate was ruled out injured.

In 2018, Rabiot was put on a reserve list for the World Cup but the then 23-year-old emailed Didier Deschamps to tell him he would not accept to be on standby, prompting the coach to say Rabiot was making "a huge mistake".

Put up for sale by Juve last summer after failing to showcase his talent since joining in 2019, Rabiot was only recalled to the national team in 2020.

After rediscovering his form at Juve this season, Rabiot completed his redemption story in spectacular fashion on Tuesday on football's biggest stage.

After a woeful 20 minutes during which he struggled with midfield partner Aurelien Tchouameni, Rabiot stepped up a gear and his elegance, fine technique and physical impact was for everyone to see at the Al Janoub stadium.

In the 27th minute, after Craig Goodwin had given Australia a shock early lead, he left his marker behind to head home from Theo Hernandez's cross.

Five minutes later, he collected a clever backheel from Kylian Mbappe to set up Olivier Giroud for the second goal before holding the fort in the second half and bringing more danger into the Australian half.

Deschamps was not surprised.

"Recently, he's had a very high level with his club and I'm happy that he's confirming this with us but I never doubted his intelligence and his capacities," he said.

"He brings balance, wins balls and also scores, even if at the end I had to tell him to take it down a notch a little. Having him at that level is important for us."

With Lucas Hernandez ruled out of the tournament due to a serious knee injury, his brother Theo is now the only real left back left in the squad.

Should Theo Hernandez pick up an injury too Deschamps may have to deploy Rabiot in defence as he has sometimes occupied the left-back spot when needed.

However, after Tuesday's performance, Deschamps would be reluctant to deprive the team of Rabiot's assets further up the pitch.