France vs Australia World Cup 2018
The World Cup often throws up clashes between heavyweight opponents, although in this case you’re looking at an absolute David versus Goliath. While France have been reasonably lacklustre since their defeat at the European Championships in 2016, the truth is they have been in second gear and still managed to qualify for the World Cup with ease.
The talent that France have at their disposal is mind-blowing. Remember Manchester United’s Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla? You can thank Wissam Ben Yedder for that, yet the Frenchman has only ever made one appearance for the senior national team. He would be a certain starter if he had been born in Australia, who are severely lacking in that half of the pitch.
In fact, it would be hard to argue a case for any Australian player making it into the third-best team that France could play in their World Cup opener. Mat Ryan and Aaron Mooy both play in the English Premier League, but they would have no chance alongside the likes of Hugo Lloris, Alphonse Areola, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi et al.
France have an established lineup and a manager who has been at the helm since 2012 (Didier Deschamps). Australia on the other hand have only just signed their head coach, and the side’s first match under his control ended in a 4-1 defeat to Norway, a team that sits well below them on the rankings. While their recent friendly matches have ended in wins (against Hungary and the Czech Republic), things aren’t looking too good for Australian fans.
The only possible hope for the Aussies is that since France’s breakthrough World Cup victory in 1998, they have failed to make it out of the group stage in every other tournament (2002 and 2010). If this trend continues, Australia could be poised to replicate the likes of Senegal, Switzerland and Uruguay, who have all taken points from their opening encounters with the French.
It’s incredibly unlikely though, and despite Australia being well inclined to consider themselves a nation on the rise in the world of soccer having qualified for the last four consecutive World Cups, the reality is they are a long way behind.
France opened at -479 and realistically this is your only option in the head to head market. The draw is the next most likely result at +512, while +1300 is available if you think Australia can cause a monumental upset.
France vs Australia Preview
The biggest challenge for Didier Descamps is selecting his team. With so much talent at his disposal, he is free to make selections based on tactics rather than genuine ability, and Australia are known for their fitness and physicality so this will be at the forefront of his mind. For this reason, he may go with Olivier Giroud up front like he did in the 3-2 loss to Colombia in March.
If Giroud starts, he would be your pick for first goal-scorer, and you should get decent odds on the Chelsea frontman to strike first. Alternatively, PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann are also up there with your best bets.
Australia’s best chance at getting a goal in this match would come from a set piece, and while there is little chance they will obtain enough possession and territory to really challenge the French, a direct free kick opportunity would see Aaron Mooy a more than even chance of hitting the back of the net. It may be a stretch to pick him as first goal-scorer, but you can certainly place a bet on him in the ‘any-time scorer’ market.
Similarly, goals may be scored indirectly from set pieces, and Australia boasts arguably one of the best headers of the ball to ever play the game. Although now 38 years old, Tim Cahill gets up better than anyone in the box, and may still add to his tally of 50 international goals. Just one would see him draw level with France’s best every in Thierry Henry – that in itself would be a huge achievement.
Your best bet is to wait for the final lineups to be revealed, which should be done in the hours before kickoff. Only then could you be confident of placing an accurate goal-scoring wager.
Head to Head Alternatives
Let’s face it, there is little point in picking France in a head to head bet such is their superiority over Australia, although you could always utilise a parlay bet alongside some of your other preferences at the World Cup.
We normally suggest a bet on the correct score, which offers huge odds, although this is preferable when the two competing teams are evenly matched and a defensive outcome is more likely. This match is unlikely to be devoid of goals, unless Australian manager Bert van Marwijk completely reverses the recent trend of attacking football that the national team produced under Ange Postecoglou.
The 2-0 we have picked is the favoured scoreline, paying +372, while 1-0 and 3-0 also appear likely. For this reason, it may be worth placing a bet on France to be the sole scorers, you will get odds of -156 for that line.
If you think France are good enough to score in both halves, -101 is on offer here, which is another pick that presents much better value than the head to head option.
Group C Betting Odds