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France vs Australia betting tips: World Cup preview, predictions, team news and odds

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Match preview

The last time France were reigning World Champions, they lost their opener, beaten 1-0 in Seoul by debutants Senegal in 2002.

Les Bleus are certainly hoping to avoid a repeat of that in Al Wakrah.

Didier Deschamps’ team come into this tournament with less optimism than usual, largely due to an always increasing injury list, and recent underwhelming results.

As holders, they won just one of six Nations League matches in June and September, losing twice to Denmark, also beaten when Croatia visited Paris.

Nevertheless, France are more than capable of becoming the first team since 1962 to retain the World Cup.

Back in 2018, les Bleus kicked off their campaign with a narrow 2-1 victory over Australia, needing a late own goal from Aziz Behich to snatch the point.

As for the Socceroos, they played a whopping 20 matches to get here, the joint-most of any side.

Graham Arnold’s team finished third in their AFC group, so had to then oust U.A.E. just to reach June’s inter-confederation play-offs.

There, following a goalless 120 minutes with Peru, Australia prevailed on penalties, thanks largely to the antics of substitute goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.

So, the Socceroos will appear at a fifth successive World Cup, although they last got out of their group in 2006.

Most are expecting Australia to finish rock bottom of Group D, so it would be a massive shock if they got any sort of result here.

Will France be far too strong at Al Janoub Stadium?

France team news

France are without the injured Presnel Kimpembe, Paul Pogba, N’Golo KantĂ©, Christopher Nkunku and Karim Benzema.

The newly-crowned Ballon d’Or winner withdrew from the squad on Saturday, which is a massive blow.

So, Olivier Giroud is set to lead the line, needing just two goals to match Thierry Henry’s national record.

Kylian MbappĂ© will certainly be pleased about this, with Giroud deployed as the ‘pivot’, while Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane DembĂ©lĂ© could complete a frightening front four.

With no Pogba and no KantĂ©, 22 year old AurĂ©lien TchouamĂ©ni will be France’s midfield linchpin.

RaphaĂ«l Varane isn’t fit just yet, so Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima KonatĂ© are reportedly set to start at centre-back.

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is currently on 139 caps, needing just three to match Lilian Thuram’s long-standing record.

Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Pavard, Konaté, Upamecano, L Hernandez; Tchouaméni, Rabiot, Mbappé, Griezmann, Dembélé; Giroud.

Australia team news

The Socceroos are without Trent Sainsbury, Tom Rogic and Martin Boyle due to injury, the latter pulling out as recently as Sunday.

Goalkeeper Mat Ryan and winger Mathew Leckie are the only players in the squad who also featured at Brazil 2014.

18 year old Garang Kuol, who will join Newcastle from Central Coast Mariners in January, is their player to watch.

James Maclaren was the leading goal-scorer during qualifying, bagging seven, so could get the nod over Mitchell Duke up front.

Predicted XI (4-5-1): Ryan; Karačić, Degenek, Wright, Behich; Mooy, Hrustić, Irvine, Kuol, Mabil; Maclaren.

France vs Australia: Head to head statistics

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Group D table:

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Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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