France train in Qatar ahead of the World Cup
Check out France’s latest training session in Qatar with Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappé and more.
France vs Australia: Line-ups
France Backed to Win
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.
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.
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.