France will start their World Cup journey as they take on Australia in a Group D encounter at the Al Janoub Stadium.

Defending champions France will be aiming to start the World Cup on a perfect note as they are scheduled to face Australia on Tuesday. Two completely different kinds of teams will battle from two different kinds of perspectives.

Les Bleus ended their barren run in the last edition where they triumphed by getting the better of Croatia in the 2018 World Cup final. It will be definitive for the current holders to have a smooth transition from their recent performance which also includes a defeat against Denmark, a country which happens to be their main thorn as France will be aiming to top their group.

Didier Deschamps has been dealing with multiple issues starting from off-field rumours to multiple injury issues and a statement win against Australia would keep the focus away for the time being.

The memories of the 2002 World Cup are still fresh as the then-defending champions crashed out of the competition without registering a single win and they will not want to repeat that feat.

Australia are into their fourth World Cup finals and would be hoping to better their performances this term as they had three group stage exits in their tally. Following a gruesome qualifying campaign, the Socceroos will muster all of their resources to ensure their stay gets a bit longer this time.

On the back of five consecutive victories, the Aussies will definitely feel confident against the World champions but their record against the reigning World champions won’t offer them much inspiration. Their sole win against France came in the Confederation Cup 2001 edition, but Graham Arnold’s side holds all the cards to be the next surprise element.

Team News & Tactics

France

Injuries have already hampered France’s preparations as Karim Benzema became the latest casualty in the squad. Didier Deschamps will rely on his existing players and will not name a replacement.

Hugo Lloris could become a record-breaker for France during the World Cup. He could become the most capped player in the history of the France national football team. Lloris currently has 139 international caps to his name while record holder Lilian Thuram has 142.

Raphael Varane will not be risked and therefore, Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate will be representing France at the heart of the defence. Lucas Hernandez will start on the left flank, while Benjamin Pavard will get the nod on the right wing.

Adrien Rabiot’s good form will be taken into consideration and the Juventus midfielder will form a two-man midfield with Aurelien Tchouameni. Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele will have the responsibility to drive down the attack from the flanks and Antoine Griezmann will start just behind the main striker. Finally, Olivier Giroud will lead the line for France against Australia.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Pavard, Upamecano, Konate, Lucas Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot; Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud

Australia

Skipper Mat Ryan will definitely be the first name on the name sheet. Kye Rowles and Bailey Wright will pair up in the central defence, while Nathaniel Atkinson and Aziz Behich will complete the defensive setup.

Aaron Mooy will try to tick things in the midfield and Ajdin Hrustic and Jackson Irvine will combine alongside him. Craig Goodwin and Mathew Leckie will support from the flanks and Mitchell Duke will be the leading man up front.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ryan; Atkinson, Wright, Rowles, Behich; Hrustic, Mooy, Irvine; Leckie, Duke, Goodwin

Key Stats

  • These two met previously in the World Cup only once with France emerging victorious in 2018.
  • Australia beat France only once so far and that came way back in the Confederation Cup in 2001.
  • France have three final appearances since 1998, more than any other country
  • This is Les Bleus’ 7th consecutive appearance in the World Cup finals.

Player to Watch

Kylian Mbappe

The Paris Saint-Germain forward will again be their focal point of attack as he played a pivotal part as France lifted the golden trophy four years back. The 23-year-old has been in stellar form this time, and Didier Deschamps will build his team around the youngster.

Prediction

France 3-0 Australia

France have too much firepower compared to Australia who will be participating to prove their mere existence on this bigger stage. Coming into the World Cup, the French side does have a number of injury concerns but that won’t take a toll on their on-field display.

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