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France vs Australia Match Preview

21 Nov 2022 07:07    

The match

Defending champions France face Australia in their opening World Cup Group D fixture. It's 60 years since a country has successfully defended this trophy. France will be confident of making it into the last 16 as the other two countries in this group are Denmark and Tunisia. They do have injury problems though with Kante, Pogba and now Benzema all out of the tournament. The French squad has a lot of depth to it and still has Mbappe, Griezmann and Giroud who have scored 119 international goals between them. A lack of goals from midfield is a worry though.

Despite winning the World Cup in 2018, France still had to go through the qualifiers. They finished six points clear of Ukraine to secure their place in Qatar and didn't lose any of their eight matches. Since winning the World Cup, France have also triumphed in the Nations League. However, this year saw them finish only third in their group behind Croatia and Denmark. Only five points were earned from their six matches. This will be their first match since a September loss to Denmark in the Nations League. Only one of their last six internationals has been won, so they need to show some improved form in Qatar.

Australia had a difficult time qualifying for these finals. They finished third behind Saudi Arabia and Japan and were seven points adrift of second place. That took them into a play-off against UAE, who they beat 2-1 in a match played in Qatar.  That win took them into a final play-off against Peru. The game ended goalless and Australia won 5-4 on penalties. This is the fifth consecutive World Cup finals appearance for the Australians. They haven't reached the last 16 since 2006 and haven't won a game in their last two tournaments. Australia are unbeaten in their last five internationals. Clean sheets have been kept in the last three but this is a big step up in class for them. The two teams met in the last World Cup with France winning 2-1. Back them to win this and be ahead at both half and full time.

Key Statistics

France have won three of their previous five matches against Australia.

Australia have lost five of their last six games played in the World Cup finals.

Over 90 minutes, France have only lost one away game since 2019.

The bet of our experts

France cannot avoid any slip-ups in this group. Finishing second could see them face Argentina in the last 16. They have injury problems, especially in midfield and up front. France does have a strong squad though with plenty of experience. They begin with a match against Australia just as they did in the 2018 World Cup. The Australians had a struggle to qualify and tend not to make an impact in World Cup tournaments. Back France to win this and be ahead at both half and full time.

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