France vs Australia
France did have to wait till the last qualifying round to secure their World Cup ticket. With a 2:1 victory at home over Belarus they managed to get the first position. They had four points more than second-placed Sweden that lost their last game to the Netherlands.
With 7-2-1 record they fully deserved it, however, their matches were usually a bit more defensive minded than what we expected from them. During March they lost to Colombia and won over Russia away from home.
In last weeks, French managed to get 2:0 victory over Ireland and a 3:1 win over Italy. Finally, in the last friendly in Lyon, they had a 1:1 draw against the USA. Needless to say, they dominated the opponent completely and only goals were missing.
Offensive Kylian Mbappe is a doubt after an ankle injury in training. Samuel Umtiti and Djibril Sidibe both missed a couple of training with knee problems. They should start with three forwards in a quite offensive formation.
Australia really struggled in the qualifying stage this time. They ended their primary qualifying group behind Saudi Arabia and Japan, having to play additional play-offs. They first faced Syria and only progressed thanks to a goal in extra-time via Cahill.
Their final qualifying match against Honduras was it easier as Aussies already showed in the first game that they are better away from home in San Pedro Sula. After a goalless game away, they comfortably won in front of own fans with 3:1 result conceding the only goal very late into the match.
As for the friendlies, the side won over the Czech Republic 4:0 and Hungary 2:1 in previous weeks. Even though they did show great potential in the attack, it must be said that the results were at least bit harsh to their opponents.
Veteran Tim Cahill should start from the bench here. Juric could lead their attack in probably a bit defensive version of the 4-5-1 formation.
French side fell at the very last hurdle at the previous European championship. The side seems to be even more determined now and is among favorites for the whole competition. Aussies are simply not at their level this time and I can't see them staying too competitive during the clash.
France vs Australia prediction
France -1.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.83 with Pinnacle
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