France vs Australia Prediction
22nd November 2022
22:00 Qatar Time/19:00 GMT
Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Current Form (Last Five Matches):
France vs Australia Prediction Match Overview
In a throwback to the 2018 World Cup group stage in Russia, France will first play against Australia in their opening group match. Highly fancied France have been in somewhat indifferent form winning just one of their six Nations league fixtures, yet before their poor Nations League campaign they had won seven straight games. A 2-0 home win over Austria punctuated a series of results which saw them lose at home 2-1 to Denmark, successive 1-1 draws with Croatia and Austria, a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to the Croatians and, finally, a 2-0 away defeat at the hands of Denmark. The French will be hoping that their reservoir of talent will ensure a strong start despite their shaky form.
The Australians for their part have won their last five games, including a World Cup playoff against South American side Peru, but their World Cup qualifying campaign wasn’t a total success. They entered their playoff game against the Peruvians not long after winning one of seven qualification matches, including failing to register a goal in defeats against Japan (2-0) and Saudi Arabia (1-0). The Australians will hope that the grit and determination that saw them pull through their playoff encounter will make up for their shortcomings.
Injuries and Suspensions
Will not play: Benzema, Kounde, Varane (France)
Might not play: Boyle (Australia)
France vs Australia Prediction Analysis
We expect the French to play their customary possession-based game and patiently probe the Australians to create high-quality opportunities. They’ll likely be able to gain the upper hand in the middle of the park with the likes of Real Madrid duo Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga available, as well as the hugely experience Adrien Rabiot. This midfield dominance will be supplemented by their ability to carry and play the ball out from the back as well as the ability of their full-backs, particularly Benjamin Pavard, to tuck inside to provide additional passing options in midfield. The Australians are likely to be compact and allow the French to have plenty of possession in wide areas to lure them into playing speculative crosses rather than coherent attacks, so it’s crucial for the French to dominate the midfield early on and to bring Griezmann onto the ball. With key man Karim Benzema out, it’s likely that veteran Olivier Giroud will start, and the big man will offer a physical and aerial threat to complement Kylian Mbappe’s considerable threat. Mbappe has repeatedly stated a preference to play alongside a traditional number 9, and he will have his wish here.
Australia will look to deny the French time and space through the middle and to that end we can expect them to have a compact shape with two defensive midfielders shielding a back 4 with the full-backs playing as auxiliary central defenders at times. They will look to break quickly and the ball as often as possible to both Ajdin Hrustic and Aaron Mooy to make things happen for them. With possession and counter-attacking opportunities likely at a premium, Australia’s chief playmakers must keep their composure and release the ball at the right time to involve the Australian front three.
France Key Players
With the Australians likely to be utilising a low block, Mbappe’s excellent close control and bursts of pace will enable the French to create openings and opportunities despite the lack of space on offer. Mbappe will be exceptionally difficult to keep quiet for the full 90 minutes, and he can be counted on to relentlessly give the Australian defence a truly torrid time. Mbappe claims to thrive alongside a target man who will open up space and keep defenders occupied to provide the PSG man with extra space to work with, and this will be an early opportunity to test the veracity of this claim.
Having adapted his game to play a deeper, number 10 or sometimes false 9 role in the latter years of his stellar career, Griezmann’s ability to link the midfield and attack will play a pivotal role in ensuring that France can turn their expected midfield dominance into promising attacking situations. France’s expected front three in Mbappe, Dembele and Giroud are all very attack-minded, direct players and therefore Griezmann will likely be expected to play more of a floating, supporting role to provide both an outlet for possession and killer passes in the final third.
Australia Key Players
In addition to his technical ability and composure on the ball, Hrustic is something of a dead-ball specialist, which could prove to be invaluable in a match where chances will be at a premium for the Australians. As the Australians look to counter from their low block, it’s crucial that Hrustic makes himself available for the ball at the earliest opportunity and makes split-second decisions to avoid the counter breaking down.
With the Australian goalmouth likely to be a source of heavy traffic, it’ll be up to Copenhagen’s number one to keep the French at bay at certain points during the match. With a reputation as an agile goalkeeper and a superb shot-stopper, Australia will be hoping for a big performance here. Additionally, Ryan is also known as an accurate distributor of the ball which will assist with counter-attacking opportunities and relieving pressure.
France vs Australia Prediction
It’s difficult to see anything other than a comfortable France win here. While it’s certainly possible that the Australians could frustrate the French for a while, France have too much quality in the final third to be held at bay for too long.