The first game of the Group C between France and Australia will take place at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 16th. France is considered as the strongest team among Denmark, Peru, and Australia, and failing to reach the Round of 16 would be devastating for them, so they have an imperative to start the tournament with three points, while the Socceroos don’t have anything to lose, which could be dangerous for the Blues.
France vs. Australia
Three-Way: 1: France -556; X: +550 Draw; 2: Australia +1600 at BetDSI Sportsbook
Spread -1.5: France -143; Australia +110
Total 2.5 goals: Over -118; Under -105
The Blues qualified to the World Cup for the 15th time and after missing out in 1990 and 194, this is their sixth consecutive participation. France won the title back in 1998 when they were the hosts, and have one second and two third places so far, but following the previous WC when they were eliminated in the quarter-finals, they are hoping to reach at least the semis this time around.
Didier Deschamps made some controversial decisions when selecting 23 players for the World Cup as he left out Anthony Martial and Alexandre Lacazette, while Laurent Koscielny’s injury weakened his defense. Still, France has a very strong squad with an excellent attack consisted of Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappé, Ousmane Dembélé, and Nabil Fekir, undoubtedly the best part of the team. Paul Pogba will be the main guy in the midfield and Deschamps admitted that Manchester United’s man must improve for his national side, so we can expect Pogba to dominate the midfield against Australia.
After losing to Colombia 3-2 in a friendly match, France won three in a row over Russia, Ireland, and Italy, scoring eight and allowing two goals in the process. Their biggest rival for the first place in the Group C will likely be Denmark, but Peru also has a chance to make it to the Round of 16, while Australia is an underdog here.
The Socceroos will play at the World Cup for the fifth time in the nation’s history, and after failing to qualify to seven consecutive championships, Australia secured their fourth straight participation. The current Asian champs defeated Honduras in the playoffs and secured the ticket to Russia, but they are not viewed as one of the teams capable of pulling a surprise or two.
Bert van Marwijk has a rather weak side but he still can count on such quality players as the goalkeeper Mathew Ryan, the captain Mile Jedinak, Tom Rogic, Aaron Mooy, and legendary Tim Cahill, who is Australia all-time top scorer with 50 goals, and the former Everton’s forward needs five more games to break Mark Schwarzer’s record of 109 caps. The defense is arguably the worst part of the squad and I can see them conceding plenty as it was the case four years ago in Brazil when they allowed nine goals in three games.
After an aforementioned victory over Honduras, Australia played three friendlies, winning one and losing one in the span, including the most recent 4-0 win over the Czech Republic, when Mathew Leckie dominated with a pair of goals. Avoiding a defeat in the opener with France would be a miracle for the Socceroos, but their real chance for getting points will be against Denmark and Peru.
I would be surprised not to see France scoring at least two or three goals here as the latest H2H duel in 2013 finished 6-0 for the Blues when Giroud scored a brace, but that was the friendly match and I don’t really expect them to fill Australia’s net to the top. Ryan is a solid keeper and has a good campaign behind him, but I do believe he will capitulate on two or three occasions.
The Pick: France AH -1.5 (-143)