France vs Australia : Match preview, team news and possible lineups

Last Updated on 21/11/2022 by

In the opening match of World Cup 2022 Group D on Tuesday at the Al Janoub Stadium, an injured France team will start the defence of their world championship against Australia.

Les Bleus made it all the way in Russia four years ago, while Australia is attempting to break a run of three straight group-stage exits.

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France has added the UEFA Nations League as another significant trophy to their collection since defeating Croatia on that soggy evening in Moscow, but the drawbacks have outweighed the gains for Didier Deschamps and company.

Since current coach Didier Deschamps revealed his team, two more well-known players have been forced to retreat. Midfield duo Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, both so important to their 2018 achievement, had already been excluded.

France is already certain to give up their Nations League title after a poor showing in the 2022–23 competition that almost resulted in an unthinkable relegation to League B. France was eliminated from Euro 2020 at the last-16 stage.

Additionally, there have been numerous injury problems and off-field scandals for this France team. Given that they left the 2002 World Cup in the group stage without picking up a single victory, France already has the unfavourable distinction of being the lowest World Cup defending champions.

Even though their only victory in their last six games came in a 2-0 home victory over Austria, France still commands a healthy amount of respect as the defending champions. However, history is not on France’s side as they attempt to become just the third team—after Italy and Brazil—to win back-to-back World Cups.

In actuality, the subsequent tournament runs of the three reigning champions—Germany, Spain, and Italy—who played before France all ended in the group stage. Brazil in 2006 was the last defending champion to triumph in the opening game of a competition.

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In Australia’s playoff final match against Peru, manager Graham Arnold perfected the art of substituting a goalkeeper for a penalty-saving specialist. Andrew Redmayne channelled his inner Bruce Grobbelaar in the shootout, helping to advance Australia.

Australia qualified for the World Cup finals for the fourth time in a row thanks to Redmayne’s efforts, but the Socceroos have lost three group-stage matches during that time and have only won one of their last nine games at the competition, a 2-1 victory over Serbia in 2010.

Arnold’s team arrives their 1st match with an unbeaten run of 5 games straight, and amidst their AFC qualification deception, Australia’s best performance on the biggest global level thus far has been a round-of-16 place in 2006.

Tim Cahill’s thunderous goal against the Netherlands in 2014 was the last time Australia scored from open play at a World Cup. Australia beaten their Oceanic competitors 2-0 and 1-0 in 2 September friendlies.

Griezmann’s penalty and an own goal from Behich helped France defeat Australia 2-1 in their previous World Cup group stage encounter. In their 5 games against France, the Socceroos have only won once, at the 2001 Confederations Cup.

France Team News

Even before the opening kickoff, injuries have been a recurring theme for France. After only recently reuniting with Varane in full training, Benzema’s forced pullout due to a thigh issue made headlines on Saturday night.

In addition to not naming a substitute for Benzema, Deschamps was compelled to fill Kimpembe and Nkunku with Kolo Muani and Disasi, respectively.

The attacking line-up without Benzema is expected to include Olivier Giroud, Griezmann, Mbappe, and Dembele. Varane may not be risked for the first matchday, so Ibrahima Konate and Dayot Upamecano may start at the back. Varane, meanwhile, has been cleared by Deschamps to make his debut, while Eduardo Camavinga, who missed training on Sunday due to discomfort, is expected to be fine for kickoff.

France possible starting lineup:

Hugo Lloris; Pavard, Upamecano, Konate, Lucas Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot; Dembele, Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe; Olivier Giroud

Players to Watch

Kylian Mbappe

It’s never a good thing to lose players like Nkunku and Benzema, but the blow is lessened when you can still rely on the world’s most dynamic attacker.

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With four goals in seven games in Russia, Mbappe was a major contributor to France’s World Cup victory in 2018. The young French star, who scored during the competition, not only set a record for his nation in terms of age at a World Cup, but also became just the second player under the age of 20 to score in a World Cup final, following Brazilian legend Pele in 1958 against Sweden. With 19 goals in 20 plays for the Ligue 1 powerhouse Psg this season, he has also been virtually unstoppable.

Australia Team News

The Hibernian striker Martin Boyle has been dealing with a knee issue and has been forced to leave the team. France are not the only country that has been plagued by injuries.

The 29-year-old has been replaced, and other than Ajdin Hrustic, who has reportedly been working as usual following his own injury concern, Arnold has all of his squad healthy and ready to go.

Harry Souttar, a defender for Stoke City, has said he is ready to play on the first matchday despite only having almost no game time since having his ACL repaired. However, while Souttar continues to work to regain his fitness, Bailey Wright might initially be preferred in this scenario.

Australia possible starting lineup:

Mathew Ryan; Atkinson, Bailey Wright, Rowles, Behich; Ajdin Hrustic, Mooy, Irvine; Leckie, Duke, Goodwin

Players to Watch

Mat Ryan

In addition to the fact that Australia will probably take a lot of shots from the world champions, Ryan also brings experience that this team desperately needs.

While Kamil Grabara has been preferred in goal for Copenhagen this season, the former Valencia and Arsenal goalkeeper has played in all 11 of Australia’s World Cup qualifying games for the third and fourth rounds of the AFC. The most of any goalkeeper for his country, Ryan is also scheduled to play in a third World Cup for Australia. He will tie Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano for the most World Cup appearances for the Socceroos if he plays in each of the three group games.



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