- France v Australia
- Tuesday, November 22, 2022, 14:00 ET
- At the Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, Qatar
France Face a New Challenge in Qatar
France are defending World Cup champions and have one of the best squads in world football but they face a new challenge when the kick off their Group C campaign against Australia.
Who do Bettors Favor?
You won’t be surprised to learn that the best-rated online sportsbooks are heavily favoring France in this matchup as bettors wager on the World Cup holders to start with a win. Didier Deschamps’ team is the short-priced favorite at -470 while Australia can be wagered on at anything between +1200 and +1500. And, if you think the draw is a possibility, you can back that at +580.
|France v Australia|
World Cup Group D Betting Briefing
Group D of the World Cup could turn out to be one of the toughest sections in the tournament. France are obviously the favorites and some bettors rank them alongside or even ahead of Brazil in the World Cup winners betting, given the wealth of talent in their ranks.
The team that finishes second in this Group will play the winners of Group C, which on paper should be Argentina, in the second round. That’s a tough fixture that no team would want, but if the rest of the Group are to avoid Messi and co. they will have to find a way to get past France.
On paper, Denmark are best-placed to do that, and they will relish the chance to go up against the holders, but Tunisia cannot be written off. One of the strongest sides in Africa, they reached the final of the Arab Cup and will have no problem with the conditions in Qatar.
Deschamps’ Selection Headache
France has one of the strongest squads in world football, but even the World Cup holders rely on certain players being available, and that is certainly the case with N’golo Kante and Paul Pogba. Their absence for this tournament was a big blow and gives Deschamps a midfield selection headache.
The France coach has been criticized at times for his conservative approach – although he can justifiably point to the success of his methods – but in recent months has attempted to try a more attacking 3-4-1-2 formation, partially to address the criticisms, but mainly to find a way to include Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema in the same lineup.
Given that he is without his two first-choice central midfielders, as well as key defender Rafael Varane, will he be able to sustain this approach? It isn’t clear. There is also the question of squad dynamics. The Euro 2020 campaign was a shambles off the field and on it, and many of the players have personal issues simmering below the surface.
Australia the Group D Wild Card
After a dramatic qualification campaign that featured a strong start, a dreadful slump and then a flourish at the end to qualify through the playoffs, Australia look like being the wild card in Group D.
Manager Graham Arnold has gone from hero to zero and back again, but the turnaround in Australian fortunes coincided with a return to basics and to the set-pieces and strong transition play, along with a dose of physicality, that has been his hallmark as a coach.
Australia’s creativity rests largely on the shoulders of Ajdin Hrustic, so fans will be hoping that he is back to his best after an ankle ligament injury. In general, they will focus on being tough to play against, posing a threat at set pieces and counter-attacking strongly. The fact that they won both of their playoff games in Qatar also suggests that they can cope with the conditions.
World Cup Group D Match Betting Pick
France will be expected to dominate here and when it comes to talent there is no comparison between the two squads. But although this is, on paper, their easiest game, it may turn out to be anything but straightforward against opponents with nothing to lose.
Australia was a poor team mid-qualifying, but having turned their qualifying campaign around, they go into this tournament with plenty of confidence. They also have a game plan that could prove to be a source of serious frustration for their opponents.
France have a history both of disappointing in their opening game and of allowing off-the-field issues to derail their challenges at major tournaments, as happened at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2020. This game could be a severe test of their resolution and patience and I think Australia are a good pick to earn a draw in their opener.