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France vs Australia: Les Bleus too strong for Socceroos
1998 World Cup champions should have no problems with inferior Aussies
Paul Pogba and France destroyed Australia 6-0 at Parc des Princes on October 11, 2013 in Paris. (David Rogers/Getty Images)
France vs Australia Preview & Betting Tips
France take on Australia at the Kazan Arena as both nations kick off their World Cup campaigns. Les Bleus have one of the best squads in the tournament and will have no excuses if they fail to pick up three points.
Les Bleus are participating in their 15th World Cup in Russia hoping to match their winning performance on home soil in 1998. Manager Didier Deschamps has a star studded squad including Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba.
Much will depend on Deschamps’ team selection and tactics and if he can find a way to get the best out of his team. The heartbreak of losing the 2016 European Championships final in Paris should be extra motivation for a team with no real weakness.
France weren’t totally convincing in qualifying which included a goalless draw in Belarus, a 2-1 loss in Sweden and an unbelievable 0-0 at home against Luxembourg. They beat Italy 3-1 in a recent friendly before a disappointing 1-1 draw against an understrength USA side.
Samuel Umtiti and Djibril Sidibe both missed training on Monday with Presnel Kimpembe and Benjamin Pavard ready to deputise. Midfielders Blaise Matuidi and Corentin Tolisso are in contention but Kylian Mbappé has an ankle injury and is a doubt.
Australia qualified for their fourth consecutive World Cup the hard way, getting past Syria in extra time in the Asian qualification play-off followed by an Intercontinental play-off win against Honduras. Manager Ange Postecoglou resigned shortly after and was replaced by Dutch manager Bert van Marwijk.
The Socceroos have a strong midfield in Aaron Mooy, Mile Jedinak and Massimo Luongo. Flair comes from Tom Rogic and Mathew Leckie while there is much excitement over the selection of 19-yar-old Daniel Arzani.
38-year-old Tim Cahill is aiming to become the fourth player in history to score at four World Cups. He would join some illustrious company to have achieved the feat alongside Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose.
Australia had two confidence building wins in recent friendlies after defeating the Czech Republic 4-0 and Hungary 2-1. Matthew Leckie scored twice against the Czech’s with Arzani scoring his first international goal against Hungary.
These nations have met three times with the spoils shared. Australia defeated France 1-0 in the 2001 Confederations Cup before a 1-1 draw in a friendly match the same year.
The most recent clash came in a friendly match in 2013, Les Bleus running away with an easy 6-0 win in Paris. Franck Ribéry opened the scoring with two goals to Oliver Giroud and one each to Yohan Cabaye, Mathieu Debuchy and Karim Benzema.
It remains to be seen if Australia’s defence can cope with the pace, movement and trickery of the French attack. Kylian Mbappé and Ousmane Dembélé could have a field day against Aziz Behich and Josh Risdon.
- France have scored 2 or more goals in 7 of their last 8 matches (All competitions).
- France defeated Australia 6-0 in their last meeting in 2013 (Friendly).
- France have won 28 (47.5%) of their 59 matches at the World Cup.
- Antoine Griezmann scored 6 goals at Euro 2016 to claim the golden boot.
- Antoine Griezmann has scored 20 goals in 54 appearances for France.
- Australia have won 2 (15.4%) of their 13 matches at the World Cup.
- Australia lost all 3 matches and conceded 9 goals at the 2014 World Cup.
Didier Dechamps has a squad which is arguably the best at the World Cup. If he can find the right formula and balance then Les Bleus will easily win this game.
Australia will rely on their tough attitude but ultimately don’t have the quality to compete against France, particularly in defence.
Best Bet: France -1 Handicap @ 1.83
Anytime Goalscorer / Win Double: Antione Griezmann @ France Win @ 2.25
First Goalscorer: Antione Griezmann @4.40