France vs Australia picks and predictions: Group stage World Cup 2022

France and Australia kick off their World Cup runs in the group stage on today at 7pm. The star-studded French squad is attempting to become the first nation to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil in 1958 and 1962 – and that quest begins this evening. However, Les Blues have bee riddled with injuries and are playing without midfielders N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and striker Karim Benzema. The replacements for Kante and Pogba are expected to be Real Madrid’s 20 year old Eduardo Camavinga and 22-year-old Aurélien Tchouaméni, both of whom will be making their World Cup debuts; but with players including Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud on World Cup defence mission, the French squad looks stronger than ever and shouldn’t have too many issues to take care of Australian in the opener.

Mbappe announced himself to a global audience four years ago with some electric performances, and he hasn’t slowed down since. With key contributions in France’s run to UEFA Nations League glory last year and a red-hot start to this season with PSG (12 goals in 13 league games), there’s no scarier prospect for defenders than Mbappe in full flight with the ball at his feet.

Make no mistake, he is the undisputed focal point of this French team. With significant changes in midfield to address injuries to N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba, France will be counting on Mbappe’s movement and eye for goal to smooth that transition. There’s less margin for error and the team’s superstars have to perform.

Having said that, Argentina was the firm favourite to win over Saudi Arabia today and that ended up in absolute tatters as Messi’s team ended up losing 2-1 in what can only be described as one of football’s biggest ever upsets. Australia, who are hoping that lightning will strike more than once, will hope that a compact, gritty game plan can stifle a France team that may need a few games to find top gear. But the fact that Australia haven’t won a World Cup game since 2020 and have just two wins in their last 12 World Cup games, makes entertaining reading for the French. In fact the Socceroos haven’t scored a non-penalty World Cup goal since Tim Cahill in 2014. 

Meanwhile, Mbappe is second amongst players in the Big 5 European leagues with 19 goals across all competitions – behind only Haaland’s 23.  


France wins: 3
Australia wins: 1
Draws: 1
France goals: 10
Australia goals: 3


May 26, 1994: France 1-0 Australia (Kirin Japan Cup)
June 1, 2001: France 0-1 Australia (FIFA Confederations Cup)
November 11, 2001: France 1-1 Australia (International Friendly)
October 11, 2013: France 6-0 Australia (International Friendly)
June 16, 2018: France 2-1 Australia (FIFA World Cup)

Odds, picks & predictions

France: 2/9
Draw: 24/5
Australia: 12/1 

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