Australia vs. France
|Date & Time||Saturday June 16, 2018, 6:00 AM (EDT)|
The Line: France -448 / Draw +546 / Australia +1797 -- Over/Under: 2.5
We have some World Cup group stage action from Group C as France takes on Australia from the Kazan Arena on Saturday morning.
France comes into the 2018 World Cup as the #7 ranked team in the world and qualified for Russia 2018 after finishing first in group A in UEFA qualifying with 23 out of a possible 30 points. Les Bless will be hoping to improve on their last appearance at the World Cup which saw France eliminated in the quarterfinals, but followed that up as runners-up of Euro 2016. France may have one of the most up and coming talented rosters in the entire tournament, with captain and Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris locking things down between the sticks. Raphael Varane will be expected to anchor down the back line, while the likes of Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele will be expected to lead Les Bleus offensive attack.
Australia will look to pull off what many would consider a huge upset to open their tournament when they take on France as the 36th ranked team in the world according to FIFA’s world rankings. Australia had a tougher road qualifying to Russia 2018, finishing 3rd in Group B of AFC qualifying, advancing to a playoff where they defeated Syria 3-2 on aggregate to advance to the inter-continental playoffs, defeating Honduras for their spot in the tournament. It’s a lot of the usual suspects for the Socceroos, as Brighton goalkeeper Mathew Ryan will lead the Aussies’ defense, and Tim Cahill, who has 106 caps and 50 goals for his country, will be tasked to do some of the scoring for Australia.
These two teams have only met once in the last 17 years, with the result being a 6-0 France thrashing in a friendly back in 2013.
Like I said before, France has one of the most stacked squads in the tournament in my opinion, and if we’re being honest, I actually had France to win the entire tournament. Teams like Germany, Spain, Brazil and Argentina are all proven, but it’s younger teams like France that are hungry for some success on the international stage. All in all, I think France will simply overpower the Aussies here, so I’ll back France with a -1.5 handicap to get started with a victory.