14th of June 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
Former world champions France will start their 2018 World Cup adventure on Saturday in Kazan where they will meet Australia in the first Group C match. The French are strong favourites to finish at the top of the group table, considering that the other two teams involved are Peru and Denmark, but they have to be wary of underestimating their opponents. France have played against Australia three times before and won twice, the Australians pulled off a surprising 1-1 friendly draw in 2001.
France had to survive a few bumps along the way during the World Cup qualification campaign, but in the end they won their group despite having scored less goals than second-placed Sweden and third-placed Netherlands. This year's warm-up friendlies started with a 3-2 defeat against Colombia, but France recovered with three consecutive victories before a 1-1 draw against the United States team. Samuel Umtiti and Djibril Sidibe are struggling with knee problems and have missed training on Monday, while Kylian Mbappe picked up an ankle injury and might be out of contention for Saturday's match.
Australia will be playing at their fourth consecutive World Cup final tournament and fifth overall and they are hoping to qualify from the group stage for a second time after having achieved that in Germany in 2006. Also, veteran striker Tim Cahill is hoping to become the fourth player to score in four World Cup final tournaments, but the 38-year-old might have to settle for a place on the bench on Saturday. Australia qualified for the World Cup after a play-off tie against Honduras which they won 3-1 on aggregate.
France: Lloris - Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez - Tolisso, Kante, Pogba - Mbappe, Griezmann, Dembele
Australia: Ryan - Risdon, Milligan, Sainsbury, Behich - Leckie, Jedinak, Mooy, Luongo, Nabbout - Juric
My prediction: France to win 3-1, hopefully Tim Cahill will get to score that goal but otherwise Australia look like a rather weak team.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
France win - 1.25
Draw - 6.75
Australia win - 13.00
15th of June 2018
Of course France are the big favourites here, at least for me the Aussies would be a curios team and how they will manage to perform at the tournament.
I don't think the game would be so easy for the French so from that perspective I don't expect a huge win for them, don't have a clue what will be the end result though.
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