The French come into this with a fair degree of expectation given the overall quality they possess in their squad which has arguably the most depth of any team that is in Russia. That is largely evident in the quality of players that are not in the squad like Koscielny, Martial, Coman and Lacazette.
The only real question marks over their starting line-up is whether Hernandez will start at left-back or Deschamps will deem Man City’s Mendy fit enough and ready to start, while Umtiti and Sidibe should overcome slight knocks.
Giroud has a head injury which may put his participation in some doubt here, while Mbappe appears to have overcome the knock he took in training from a heavy Rami tackle, as Deschamps and his team will be determined to start the tournament with a victory.
Predicted line-up (4-3-3):
Sidibe, Varane, Umtiti, Mendy
Kante, Pogba, Matuidi
Mbappe, Griezmann, Dembele
Doubtful: Mbappe, Sidibe, Giroud, Umtiti
Australia played a mammoth 22 matches to qualify for this tournament – more than any other team in World Cup history – so it is fair to say they deserve their place at the finals!
One of the more heartening factors about their squad for this tournament is the fact there is much more A-League talent in the 23-man roster, and they have some talented youngsters like the exciting Arzani that could make an impact in Russia.
While Tim Cahill makes the squad, it seems unlikely he will be asked to start this match given his age and inability to cover the same amount of ground as he used to, so Australia’s all-time top goalscorer is more likely to play a role coming off the bench.
Predicted line-up (4-4-1-1):
Risdon, Sainsbury, Milligan, Behich
Leckie, Jedinak, Mooy, Kruse
France have arguably the most complete squad in the World Cup but they will have to produce the goods to match the expectations on them. They have a strong defensive unit from Lloris, across the back four and a strong and physical midfield trio. However, their strength in attack is particularly exciting as they have the pace of Dembele and Mbappe, the guile and talent of Griezmann and Lemar, and the aerial presence of Giroud to mix things up. Stopping them over 90 minutes will be difficult and while Australia will be motivated to play spoilers here, one would ultimately expect the French to possess too much quality.
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