The clash between France and Australia will be played at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 16th. The Blues got to play with the weakest team in the group in the opener and it is widely expected to take three points here, so the pressure will be on them to prove their worth, while the Socceroos can play without an imperative to win and will exclusively think about defending their own goal.
France vs. Australia
Three-Way: 1: France -400; X: +575 Draw; 2: Australia +1200 (Odds provided by Delaware Park Sportsbook)
Spread -1.5: France -125; Australia +120
Total 2.5 goals: Over -110; Under -110
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The road to the World Cup
The former World Cup champions made it to their 15th tournament and sixth straight, but since Italy beat them in the finals in Germany 2006, they didn’t have much of luck. France disappointed in the following WC when they didn’t reach the Round of 16, while they were stopped in the quarter-finals four years ago in Brazil.
On the other hand, the current Asian Cup champions qualified to their fifth World Cup and fourth consecutive, but they only have two wins in 13 matches so far and only once advanced from the group stage. Australia defeated Honduras in the playoffs to book the ticket to Russia, and competing among best 32 teams on the planet is already a big success for them.
France played seven international friendlies as the part of the preparation for the WC, winning four and losing one in the process, and that only defeat came at home to Columbia, 3-2. The Blues scored at least a goal in each of those matches, but they managed to keep just two clean sheets, against Wales and Ireland. Didier Deschamps’ side failed to beat the young USA team in the final friendly as Kylian Mbappe equalized following Julian Green’s first-half opener.
Australia played only four friendly games as a result of extended World Cup qualifications and after losing the opening clash with Norway, 4-1, the Socceroos are undefeated in the last three, 0-0 with Colombia and a pair of victories over the Czech Republic (4-0) and Hungary (2-1).
Players to watch
I will put the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe or Olivier Giroud on the side as Paul Pogba attracts the most of intention following his rather unimpressive season at Manchester United. The midfielder didn’t make an impact representing his country thus far, despite scoring nine goals in 54 caps, so this is a competition where he must prove the doubters wrong.
The Australian legend Tim Cahill will once again be their main man at the World Cup, and the all-time leading scorer with 50 goals needs just three more games to equal Mark Schwarzer’ record of 109 international caps. He will likely catch the former Middlesbrough keeper on that list, but it’s going to be hard to set the new one as only a few expect Australia to advance to the Round of 16. However, Cahill still has a killer instinct despite losing the pace due to years (38), so the French defense must be aware of his presence in the penalty box, especially in the air.
- France scored in the last nine games
- France scored a minimum two goals in six out of the previous seven matches
- Australia kept the clean sheet in two out of the last three
- Australia scored six goals in the previous two games
It’s going to be the 4th meetings between the sides and the current record is 1-1-1, but Australia surely remembers the last duel and a heavy 6-0 defeat in a friendly match in 2013. I don’t think the Blues will score six here, but if they don’t score two or three, I would be surprised. Playing France to win is out of the question due to low odds, but backing them to win with two or more goals margin is a better and realistic option.
The Pick: France AH -1.5 (-125)