France vs Australia: Preview, kick-off time, team news, H2H, prediction

France are the defending World Cup champions after a terrific triumph in Russia but the 2022 French squad looks particularly different from 2018.

Through a mix of injuries and decline, they are going through a bit of a less inspiring phase. Still, this is a squad loaded with immense talent and expected by many to go deep in the competition.

Coach, Didier Deschamps was hit with bad news in the form of Ballon d’or winner, Karim Benzema having to pull out of the tournament with a hamstring Injury. However France should feel like they have enough to take all three points against Australia.

Australia are massive underdogs coming into this game. No surprises, seeing as they have only won one of their last nine World Cup matches, a 2-1 victory over Serbia in 2010.

Despite the odds being heavily stacked against them, the Socceroos will be hopeful of an upset of epic proportions to really send shockwaves through the footballing world.

France vs Australia Head-to-Head

These two footballing nations have faced each other five times. France won the first meeting by a single goal. Since then the record reads one win for Australia, one draw, and two wins for France, most recently in the 2018 World Cup group stage meeting where France emerged as 2-1 winners.

France vs Australia Head-to-Head (H2H)

France vs Australia Players to watch

There’s very little to be said about Mbappe. One of the deadliest strikers on the planet, he has the ability to score goals out of nothing and his searing pace is a problem for defenders.

There will be extra goalscoring burden on his shoulders due to the absence of Karim Benzema but he has shown time and time again that he is up to the task of delivering for his Country.

A less heralded name than Mbappe, the Real Madrid midfielder is a vital cog in the French wheel. He will be relied on to break play and initiate attacks from deep.

This France squad is without key players in midfield, the likes of N’golo Kante and Paul Pogba are injured and unavailable so the onus of stability and Ball retention becomes the domain of Tchouameni. This could be a huge tournament for the young midfielder.

Matt Ryan will be huge for Australia at this World Cup. The Socceroos are likely to face a number of shots and will rely on Ryan to be amazing in goal. He also brings experience that this side has been lacking.

The former Valencia and Arsenal goalkeeper has not featured much for Copenhagen this season but he played all 11 matches for Australia in qualifying for the World Cup.

The creative midfielder is a key part of how Australia progress the ball and create chances. He picked up an injury while playing for his club Verona but he is expected to be fit in time for this fixture.

He will be relied upon to help Australia maintain possession in a game where they are likely to have very little time on the ball.

The Coaches

France coach Didier Deschamps has always preferred a squad unified towards one goal over picking the best players. He remains the same pragmatic figure he was a decade ago and his confident demeanor transmits to the players. Despite a high number of critics, he led France to a World Cup win and the Nations League triumph a few years later. He is still one of the best Coaches around.

Australia boss, Graham Arnold has had an inconsistent tenure as coach of the Socceroos. He took over in 2018 and despite a tough time has managed to steady the ship. The 59-year-old has a philosophy that relies heavily on dead balls and transitional play but that pragmatic approach could be key for Australia if they are to stand any chance in Qatar.

France vs Australia prediction

Australia can take some encouragement from their recent winning streak and also from France dealing with injuries. That being said, it is hard to look past a win for France, albeit a slim one.