Champions France will begin their title defence against regular participants in recent times, Australia at the Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah at exactly 19:00 GMT on Tuesday, November 22.
France are hoping to be named among a few elites like Italy and Brazil; the only two nations to defend the world title. Having won the competition in 2018, Les Bleus have not had a really smooth run.
They had to give up in the Euro 2020 at the round of 16 stage and would have been relegated to Group B of the 2022-23 UEFA Nations League until things were turned around in the final days. They were however champions of the Nations League in 2020-21.
The Socceroos are also making a fifth consecutive appearance on the world stage and have targeted a round of 16 berth; the Australians’ best finish ever which occurred 16 years ago.
FORM GUIDE (LAST FIVE MATCHES)
The defending champions have not been in the best of form after qualifying. They have just a win in their last five games. Australia, on the other hand, have won 80% of their last five games.
25 September 2022 Denmark 2–0 France Nations League
22 September 2022 France 2–0 Austria Nations League
13 June 2022 France 0–1 Croatia Nations League
10 June 2022 Austria 1–1 France Nations League
6 June 2022 Croatia 1–1 France Nations League
25 September 2022 New Zealand 0–2 Australia Friendly
22 September 2022 Australia 1–0 New Zealand Friendly
13 June 2022 Australia 0–0 Peru 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier
7 June 2022 UAE 1–2 Australia 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier
1 June 2022 Australia 2–1 Jordan Friendly
HEAD TO HEAD
France have beaten Australia in three of their five previous meeting in all competitions including a 2-1 victory at the World Cup in 2018. Australia’s only win in the last five games happened in 2001 when the Socceroos secured a slim win in the FIFA Confederations Cup.
26 May 1994 Australia 0-1 France Kirin Japan Cup
01 Jun 2001 Australia 1-0 France FIFA Confederations Cup
11 Nov 2001 Australia 1-1 France International Friendly
11 Oct 2013 France 6-0 Australia International Friendly
16 Jun 2018 France 2-1 Australia FIFA World Cup
TEAM NEWS AND PREDICTED LINE-UP
France manager Didier Deschamps targets another record after becoming one of three to win the trophy as a manager and as a coach. He would certainly rely on the talented Kylian Mbappé as well as Antoine Griezmann in the absence of Karim Benzema who was ruled out few days ago. At their defence, the champions are blessed with the likes of Benjamin Pavard and Rafael Varane among a host of high-profile players.
(4-3-3) Lloris; Pavard, Konate, Varane, T. Hernandez; Tchouameni, Camavinga, Rabiot; Griezmann, Dembele, Mbappé
On the part of Australia, going into this game would seem difficult for manager Graham Arnold with Mathew Ryan, the goalkeeper as his best player. The 30-year-old may have a lot to deal with considering the attack of the French. His excellent reflexes may not be enough to stop France. While Aaron Mooy shields the defence, Jason Cummings and Jamie Maclaren provide options for Australia in the attacking third.
(4-1-4-1): Ryan; Atkinson, Wright, Rowles, Behich; Mooy; Irvine, Leckie, McGree, Mabil; Duke.