France v Australia Preview, Stats and Betting Tips, Saturday 16 June, Kazan Arena, Kick off: 11:00

Football fans have an absolute treat on the first Saturday of the World Cup with four matches to enjoy. It all gets underway at 11 o’clock (BST) as France and Australia face off in Kazan. France are pretty high up in the betting to win the World Cup outright and are the clear favourites to win Group C. Australia, by contrast, are 9/2 just to qualify for the knockout stages but can Bert van Marwijk mastermind a truly special performance against France?

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France v Australia Betting Tips

  • France to Win and Under 2.5 Goals at 19/10 with Ladbrokes
  • Olivier Giroud to Score First at 3/1 with Coral

France v Australia Preview

France showed at Euro 2016 that they have the necessary quality to go all the way in a major international tournament. Didier Deschamps certainly had to make some very tough calls when naming his squad and the fact that Dimitri Payet, Anthony Martial and Alexandre Lacazette failed to make the cut speaks volumes.

Many France fans were disappointed with the decision to leave Payet out of the squad but it was the way that Deschamps dealt with matters that was of most concern. The France manager claimed that he simply didn’t get around to calling Payet when it was revealed the Marseille star found the news out whilst watching TV with his family. It’s a lack of attention to detail that is the biggest worry and it is fair to say that France fans are far from fulsome in their support for Deschamps. That is not the case when it comes to Australian fans and their new manager, Bert van Marwijk.

Van Marwijk was only appointed Australia manager on a short term deal through the World Cup in January. The Dutchman had to work incredibly hard to learn about his players and even paid for some of his backroom staff out of his own pocket. That dedication to the role has gone down very well among Socceroos’ fans just like the intensity of the training camp in Turkey did for the players. Van Marwijk has also made some popular decisions with his squad by including veteran, Tim Cahill, and rising young star, Daniel Arzani.

There is only so much you can take from the friendlies that teams play before the World Cup but Australia must be feeling good about themselves. Van Marwijk oversaw victories against the Czech Republic and Hungary thanks to performances that had far more attacking intent than Australia have been expected to show in Russia. There is little doubt, however, that Australia will look to sit deep and frustrate France in Kazan. France were far from fluid against the USA in their final friendly before the World Cup but they showed their attacking quality when putting three past Italy so Australia surely cannot hope to simply outscore Les Bleus in an attacking match.

Relevant Stats, Injuries and Suspensions

France and Australia have played each other four times before. France have the edge with two wins to Australia’s one but it is worth pointing out that the Socceroos were hammered 6-0 when the two last met in a 2013 friendly.

France were far from impressive during their qualifying campaign for the World Cup. The 0-0 draw at home to Luxembourg, the defeat against Sweden and a record of just 18 goals in their 10 games were particular lowlights. France’s performances did nothing for the faith placed in Deschamps but he does have one of the strongest squads in Russia to choose from.

Australia’s qualifying campaign saw them travel more miles than any other nation. Ange Postecoglou did well to guide the Socceroos to Russia but his rather quirky tactics were a little bamboozling so the more structured approach of van Marwijk should suit the Australia players better.

The head injury suffered to Olivier Giroud is the big injury concern for France before they fly to Kazan. Australia have their own injury concerns over a striker with Tomi Juric still needing to prove his fitness in order to get the nod to start on Saturday.

France v Australia Tips

Australia were excellent when taking the Czech Republic apart. Aaron Mooy was particularly impressive in the deep lying playmaker role but the Huddersfield midfielder and his teammates will be more concerned with stopping France from playing than launching attacks of their own in Kazan. France are the worthy favourites for the match and should end up with the three points but Australia showed they are capable of defending well when holding Colombia to a 0-0 draw so rather than simply backing France at odds on, back them to win and for the game to have under 2.5 goals at 19/10 with Ladbrokes.

Olivier Giroud should be fit enough to play a part on Saturday but he may well have to be content with a place on the bench. The Chelsea striker has a knack of scoring game changing goals when introduced as a substitute and France may need to rely on his nous to break the deadlock so back Giroud to score first at 3/1 with Coral.