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.