Australia’s toughest World Cup assignment comes in their first outing against France. While France has some fond memories for Australian football, including one of their most famous wins in the 2001 Confederations Cup, the 6-0 defeat in October 2013 lingers in the memory of several players.
This will be the fifth meeting between these two sides with the Euro runners up feeling very confident under new manager Didier Deschamps. France have won eight games and drawn three in their past year scoring multiple goals in nine of their 13 matches. They qualified comfortably through their UEFA Group and are among the favourites to win it all in Russia. With a strong squad littered with attacking talent, this French side are justifiable favourites in this game.
Australia on the other hand had to do it the hard way, with their qualification not secured until the AFC-CONCACAF playoff against Honduras. Add in the turmoil of a coaching change in November and you have a lot of unknowns going into this campaign. New manager Bert van Marwijk will bring a much more resolute approach to the Australian side with a compact lineup that looks to take advantage of Australia’s pacy forwards.
From a numbers perspective at the World Cup, Australia has won just two matches in their four appearances whereas France has won 28 in 14 tournament appearances, or an average of two every time they qualify. While Australia are happily buying into their underdog status for this game, there is a reason why they are such big outsiders and France have every reason to feel confident. Any hopes of them looking beyond this game went away when they had their hiccup in a friendly against the USA. France will be eager to pile on the goals and get their tournament off to a fast start.
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In terms of a result the romantic ideal is to say that Australia will put together a performance for the ages and repel the valiant French attack, when in all likelihood a clean sheet is almost certainly out of the question. First and foremost this game is about damage limitation for Australia and avoiding a 2010 scenario where a big loss in the first game came back to haunt them later on. There is not a lot of value in the head to head market here and if you are backing a French win, you will likely have to look at pairing it with another play or one of our popular multis.
World Cup Champion Free to Play Tip: France 2-1