France vs. Australia
MATCH UP STATS
France vs. Australia
World Cup winner oddsFrance: $7.50 at SportsbetAustralia: $326 at Sportsbet
THE Socceroos could not have drawn a more difficult start to their 2018 FIFA World Cup finals campaign.
Star-studded France are among the favourites for the title, not least because of the raft of household names that didn’t make the plane.
Notable absentees include Karim Benzema, Kingsley Coman, Lucas Digne, Alexandre Lacazette, Anthony Martial, Dimitri Payet, Adrien Rabiot, Mamadou Sakho, Moussa Sissoko and the injured Laurent Koscielny.
Les Bleus have world-class talent in every third of the pitch, but has coach Didier Deschamps put too big a focus on raw ability and not enough on international experience?
Take the back line, for example, where Adil Rami is the only man over 25 years of age.
Australia may also draw inspiration from the United States, who held the French to a 1-1 draw in their last hitout before Saturday’s opener.
The Socceroos have plenty of momentum after friendly wins over the Czech Republic (4-0) and Hungary (2-1).
Andrew Nabbout and Daniel Arzani registered maiden international goals in those games, while oft-maligned widemen Mat Leckie and Robbie Kruse were both on target against the Czechs.
Despite Australia’s lack of star power compared to France and the other contenders, the nation now rides into the tournament on a wave of optimism.
Some of the green and gold’s most beloved servants have even gone so far as to forecast a massive upset in Kazan.
“I’m hoping for a draw, but Australia can cause an upset on Saturday,” said Socceroos legend Mark Schwarzer in a radio interview this week.
“France are not in good form.”
France World Cup squad
Coach: Didier Deschamps
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (C), Steve Mandanda, Alphonse Areola
Defenders: Benjamin Pavard, Presnel Kimpembe, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Adil Rami, Djibril Sidibe, Lucas Hernandez, Benjamin Mendy
Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Thomas Lemar, Corentin Tolisso, N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Steven Nzonzi
Forwards: Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Nabil Fekir, Florian Thauvin
Australia World Cup squad
Coach: Bert van Marwijk
Goalkeepers: Mathew Ryan, Brad Jones, Danny Vukovic
Defenders: Milos Degenek, James Meredith, Matthew Jurman, Aziz Behich, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury
Midfielders: Mark Milligan, Massimo Luongo, Aaron Mooy, Mile Jedinak (C), Daniel Arzani, Dimitri Petratos, Jackson Irvine, Tom Rogic
Forward: Tim Cahill, Mathew Leckie, Tomi Juric, Robbie Kruse, Andrew Nabbout, Jamie Maclaren
Kylian Mbappe goalscorer odds
- Anytime goalscorer – $2.30 at Ladbrokes
- First goalscorer – $5 at Bet365
- Two or more goals – $7.50 at Sportsbet
Is there a more exciting talent in world football? The French are spoiled for choice in the final third, but this guy’s ability to create and finish in top gear is something else. The Aussie fullbacks will be hard pressed to keep the 19-year-old speedster under wraps.
Best bets for the Socceroos
- France or Australia half-time lead – $1.53 at William Hill
- Under 2.5 total goals – $2 at Bet365
- Australia +2.0 handicap – $2.10 at Ladbrokes
The Socceroos have shown a bit of spunk under Bert van Marwijk. They cannot hold a candle to France in the grand scheme of things, but they just might have what it takes to frustrate them over 90 minutes and change. Look for any market that straddles a draw and an honourable defeat.
Who wins – France or Australia?
Despite their indifferent form in the warm-up games, France are light years ahead of the Aussies in every respect. Even a poor performance could see Les Bleus walk away with three points. The Socceroos are fighters in decent touch, but they will have to do something special to upset one of the tournament favourites.
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