2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

14 June - 15 July

2018 FIFA World Cup™ 

Preview: France v Australia

  • ​UEFA EURO 2016 runners-up open their World Cup against Australia in Kazan
  • France arrive in Russia after best-ever World Cup qualifying performance

This match marks the beginning of the Russia 2018 adventure for both of these Group C teams. After delivering the best-ever performance in a FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaign, France will be keen to put their bitter defeat to Portugal on home soil in the UEFA EURO 2016 final behind them by progressing at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Four years ago in Brazil, Les Bleus began their bid for glory with a 3-0 win over Honduras. Didier Deschamps has numerous attacking options at his disposal to ensure his team get off to a similarly free-scoring start in Kazan – but who will get the nod to join superstar Antoine Griezmann and young prodigy Kylian Mbappe in the forward line?

Confidence levels are not quite so high Down Under. The Socceroos made their way to Russia via the play-offs, with veteran Tim Cahill once again providing several crucial goals. Having found the target five times in previous World Cups, if the seemingly ageless 38-year-old strikes at this year's tournament, he will join an elite group consisting of Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose to have found the net at four finals.

Team reporter analysis

Adrien Gingold, France [Follow: Twitter, Facebook]
There is no doubt that France have more than enough individual class. Yet after spending two days in Istra, 70km from Moscow, it has become clear that the squad are also friends who spend plenty of time joking and laughing together. All eyes in France are on the duo of Mbappe and Griezmann, who are expected to create problems for the Australian defence on Saturday.

Sarah Widera, Australia [Follow: Twitter, Facebook]
Although Australia are the clear outsiders in their opening game, they are happy to take on the role – if anything, it motivates them even more. Every player who has spoken to the media this week has warned against discounting the Socceroos. This team is not satisfied with simply making it to Russia; they are ready and hungry to perform. All that remains is to see which 11 players Bert van Marwijk will select.

Did you know…?

Van Marwijk actually steered Saudi Arabia to Russia 2018 but succeeded Ange Postecoglou as Australia’s coach after failing to agree a contract extension with The Green Falcons. The 66-year-old is the third Dutchman to manage Australia after Guus Hiddink, who reached the Round of 16 with the Socceroos in 2006, and Pim Verbeek, who managed the team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Possible line-ups

France: Hugo Lloris, Benjamin Mendy, Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane, Djibril Sidibe, Blaise Matuidi, N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud

Australia: Mathew Ryan, Aziz Behich, Trent Sainsbury, Mark Milligan, Josh Risdon, Aaron Mooy, Mile Jedinak, Massimo Luongo, Robbie Kruse, Andrew Nabbout, Mathew Leckie

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