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France national football team
World Cup | Group Stage
Nov 22, 2022 at 7pm UK
 
Australia national football team
France
4 - 1
Australia
Rabiot (27'), Giroud (32', 71'), Mbappe (68')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Goodwin (9')
Duke (55'), Irvine (80'), Mooy (90+5')

Preview: France vs. Australia - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's World Cup clash between France and Australia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

An injury-hit France side begin the defence of their global title when they tackle Australia in Tuesday's World Cup 2022 Group D opener at the Al Janoub Stadium.

Les Bleus went all the way in Russia four years ago, while the Socceroos are aiming to end a run of three successive group-stage exits.


Match preview

France coach Didier Deschamps during training on November 14, 2022© Reuters

Since coming up trumps against Croatia on that rain-soaked evening in Moscow, France have added another major trophy to their cabinet in the form of the UEFA Nations League, but the negatives have far outweighed the positives for Didier Deschamps and co.

Having been eliminated from Euro 2020 at the last-16 stage, France are already guaranteed to relinquish their Nations League crown after a dismal period of performance in the 2022-23 edition, which very nearly culminated in an unthinkable relegation to League B.

Off-the-field scandals and countless injury problems have also plagued this France side, who already hold the unwanted honour of being the worst-performing defending champions at a World Cup after going out in the group stage in 2002 without a single win to their name.

However, as defending champions, France command a healthy amount of respect - even if their only win from their last six matches was a 2-0 home success against Austria - but history is certainly not on their side as they aim to become only the third team after Italy and Brazil to win back-to-back World Cups.

Indeed, the three defending champions that have come just before France - Germany, Spain and Italy - have all seen their next runs in the tournament end in the group stage, and not since Brazil in 2006 have the holders won their opening game of the competition.

Australia players celebrate after qualifying to the FIFA World Cup in June 2022© Reuters

The art of taking off a goalkeeper and bringing on a penalty-saving specialist is a difficult one to master, but Australia manager Graham Arnold pulled it off in the Socceroos' playoff final versus Peru, with Andrew Redmayne channelling his inner Bruce Grobbelaar in the shootout and helping to send Australia through.

Redmayne's efforts ensured that Australia would be present at the World Cup finals for the fourth time on the bounce, but the Socceroos have suffered three group-stage exits in that period and have only won one of their last nine games at the tournament - a 2-1 success over Serbia in 2010.

A round-of-16 berth in the 2006 tournament represents the Socceroos' best achievement on the biggest global stage so far, and while they flattered to deceive during AFC qualifying, Arnold's men head into their opening match on the back of five successive victories.

The Socceroos picked up a pair of friendly wins over New Zealand in September - winning 2-0 and 1-0 versus their Oceanic counterparts - but not since Tim Cahill's scorcher against the Netherlands in 2014 have Australia scored from open play at the World Cup.

France and Australia are familiar foes at the World Cup having met in the group stage four years ago too, which France won 2-1 thanks to Antoine Griezmann's penalty and an Aziz Behich own goal, and the Socceroos have only ever won one of their five meetings with Les Bleus, which came all the way back at the 2001 Confederations Cup.

France form (all competitions):

Australia form (all competitions):



Team News

France and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema trains on November 19, 2022© Reuters

Injury after injury after injury has been the theme for France even before the first ball has been kicked, with Saturday night's headlines being made after Karim Benzema was made to withdraw after picking up a thigh issue, having just returned to full training alongside Raphael Varane.

Deschamps will not name a replacement for Benzema, and he has also been forced to swap Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku out for Axel Disasi and Randal Kolo Muani respectively.

Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele are expected to form the attacking quartet in Benzema's absence, and with Varane possibly not being risked for the opening matchday, Ibrahima Konate and Dayot Upamecano could line up at the back.

Deschamps has affirmed that Varane is fit to start, though, while Eduardo Camavinga sat out training on Sunday with discomfort but should be fine for the opening day.

France are not the only ones to have been cursed on the injury front, as Hibernian striker Martin Boyle has been nursing a knee problem and has been forced to withdraw from the squad.

Marco Tilio has replaced the 29-year-old, and Arnold otherwise has all members of his squad fit and raring to go - Ajdin Hrustic has reportedly been working as normal recently following his own injury concern, but he will start on the bench.

Stoke City defender Harry Souttar has affirmed that he is ready to feature on the opening matchday, despite a distinct lack of match practice since his ACL surgery, and Arnold has affirmed that he is ready to start.

France possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Pavard, Upamecano, Konate, Lucas Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot; Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud

Australia possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Atkinson, Souttar, Rowles, Behich; McGree, Mooy, Irvine; Leckie, Duke, Goodwin


SM words green background

We say: France 2-0 Australia

Not a single player from either team scored from open play at the correct end of the field when these two sides met four years ago, and that has been an area of weakness for Australia in World Cup games gone by.

The Socceroos can take some encouragement from their winning streak and France's ongoing injury woes, but Les Bleus' lineup is still intimidating to say the least, and we have faith in the defending champions to break the opening matchday curse and start in perfect fashion.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data


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Game History

How you voted: France vs Australia

France
75.7%
Draw
11.2%
Australia
13.1%
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Real Madrid's Karim Benzema after winning the Ballon d'Or on October 17, 2022
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Group A

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Netherlands Netherlands32107
Q Senegal flag Senegal32016
3 Ecuador flag Ecuador31114
4 Qatar Qatar30030

Group B

TeamPWDLPTS
Q England flag England32107
Q United States USA31205
3 Iran Iran31023
4 Wales flag Wales30121

Group C

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Argentina Argentina32016
Q Poland Poland31114
3 Mexico Mexico31114
4 Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia31023

Group D

TeamPWDLPTS
Q France France32016
Q Australia Australia32016
3 Tunisia Tunisia31114
4 Denmark Denmark30121

Group E

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Japan Japan32016
Q Spain Spain31114
3 Germany Germany31114
4 Costa Rica flag Costa Rica31023

Group F

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Morocco Morocco32107
Q Croatia Croatia31205
3 Belgium Belgium31114
4 Canada Canada30030

Group G

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Brazil Brazil32016
Q Switzerland Switzerland32016
3 Cameroon flag Cameroon31114
4 Serbia Serbia30121

Group H

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Portugal Portugal32016
Q Republic of Korea South Korea31114
3 Uruguay flag Uruguay31114
4 Ghana flag Ghana31023

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