Welcome to Sportstar’s highlights of the Group D match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup between France and Australia at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar.
Played: 5 | France: 3 | Australia: 1 | Draw: 1
France: Lloris, Pavard, Upamecano, Lucas Hernandez, Konate, Griezmann, Tchouameni, Rabiot, Giroud, Mbappe, Dembele
Australia: Ryan, Atkinson, Rowles, Behich, Souttar, Mooy, McGree, Irvine, Leckie, Duke, Goodwin,
Even without the injured Karim Benzema, defending World Cup champion France has plenty of attacking power.
Most teams would love to have either Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann or Olivier Giroud in their forward line, let alone all three. They have 119 international goals between them, plus an abundance of speed, craft, experience and skill.
But France does not have the same assurances in midfield, and that is where Australia could trouble Les Bleus on Tuesday in their opening Group D match.
France struggled to beat Australia 2-1 when the teams met in their World Cup opener four years ago, and that was with a full-strength midfield.
France coach Didier Deschamps is missing the injured N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba — his dynamic engine room from 2018. Pogba has played 91 times for France and one of his 11 goals came in the 4-2 win over Croatia in the 2018 final.
While Pogba’s form has been up and down since then, Kante’s consistency rarely ever dropped and he’s arguably an even bigger loss.
So Deschamps faces Australia with a revamped midfield where the most experienced player is Adrien Rabiot — Pogba’s teammate at Italian club Juventus — with 29 appearances.
Now Rabiot will likely line up on the left of a midfield three at Al Janoub Stadium with 22-year-old Aurelien Tchouameni in the center, and either Eduardo Camavainga or 23-year-old Matteo Guendouzi on the right.
But Australia has a solid midfield, too, led by the experienced Aaron Mooy — a tough tackler and able passer who played two seasons in the Premier League with Brighton and has made 53 appearances.
Mathew Leckie was Australia’s best player at the 2014 World Cup and poses a threat from the wing. The 31-year-old Leckie is also the national team’s top scorer with 13 international goals.
Leckie and Mooy both started against France four years ago.
But coach Australia coach Graham Arnold’s plans for this match were hit when winger Martin Boyle pulled out on Sunday with a knee injury. Boyle has a decent scoring record with five goals from 19 appearances for Australia.
“We all feel for Martin and it is a cruel blow for him,” Arnold said. “He has been an integral part of our journey to get to Qatar.”