After their dominant performance in the last World Cup, which took place four years ago, France was a popular pick for the next tournament in Qatar 2022.
On paper, they have the kind of roster that would make the majority of people playing FIFA 23 salivate with want. At least, that’s what they did until the number of injuries began to mount.
Midfielders Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, both of whom were so important to their success in 2018, have already been ruled out. In the days after head coach Didier Deschamps unveiled his team, two more prominent individuals have been forced to withdraw due to injury.
Even though the RB Leipzig forward was not likely to start, the loss of Christopher Nkunku was a blow. In 2022, Nkunku had 48 goal involvements (37 goals and 11 assists), which is only second to Kylian Mbappe’s 57 goal involvements (43 goals and 14 assists) among players from Europe’s top five leagues. Mbappe is on the France national team.
Then there was Karim Benzema’s retirement, which was a big development given that the winner of the Ballon d’Or in 2022 scored an incredible 44 goals in 46 games for Real Madrid in 2021-22, which contributed to the Spanish giants winning both the La Liga and the Champions League.
However, if there is any country that is capable of withstanding a twin hit like that, it would have to be France.
Mbappe will likely start the first match against Australia with either Olivier Giroud or Antoine Griezmann, depending on which one of the two Deschamps decides to play alongside him. It is probable that Deschamps will choose the same attacking three that he utilized at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Giroud has additional incentive since he is now just two goals behind Thierry Henry (51) for the all-time record for goals scored for Les Bleus.
During a news conference held on Friday, the striker for Milan said, “Obviously I’ve got this objective, this type of bonus in my brain to beat [Henry], but the primary target as a team is to go as far as we can in the tournament.”
However, France will need to improve on their recent record in order to be successful, since they have only won one of their six games in the UEFA Nations League between the months of June and September (D2, L3).
Their first obstacle is a squad from Australia that barely qualified for the tournament in Qatar and only did so thanks to a thrilling victory in a penalty shootout against Peru in a play-off match.
Although the day’s hero was the dancing replacement goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, head coach Graham Arnold will need inspiration from others if the Socceroos are going to improve on their record at the World Cup.
The only time they advanced beyond the group stage was in 2006, while Arnold was working as Guus Hiddink’s assistant coach. Prior to that, they were eliminated in the group stage four of the five times they competed.
Only Bulgaria (12% – three of 26) has a worse win record among teams that have played 10 or more games in the finals than Australia has had (two of 16 wins). Australia has only won 13% of its matches at the World Cup (two of 16).
They have also been dealt a setback when it comes to injuries, as Martin Boyle has withdrawn from the competition because he was unable to heal from a knee condition. Marco Tilio, a winger for Melbourne City, has taken his position, and Arnold is certain that the 21-year-old will perform well.
Arnold added, “Marco has done all that has been requested of him in order to be ready for this event.” Marco has “done everything that has been asked of him.” “He was an essential part of our Tokyo 2020 Olympic team, he has begun the men’s season well in the A-League, and he is acquainted with the national team set-up, and we are looking forward to what he can add to our group for the event,”
Watch Out For These Players
Mbappe, Kylian, from France
It is never a nice thing to lose guys like Nkunku and Benzema, but the damage is lessened when you still have access to perhaps the most electrifying attacker in global football.
Mbappe was a significant contributor to France’s triumph in the 2018 World Cup, in which he scored four goals over the course of seven games. During the competition, the young French star not only became his country’s youngest-ever goalscorer at a World Cup (19 years, 183 days old), but he also became only the second teenager ever to score in a World Cup final, following in the footsteps of the Brazilian icon Pele, who did so in 1958 against Sweden.
In addition, he has been almost unstoppable for Paris Saint-Germain this season, as seen by the fact that he has scored 19 goals in 20 games for the titans of Ligue 1 competition.
The PSG goals are scored by Mbappe.
Australia: Mat Ryan
Not just because the reigning world champions are expected to give Australia a lot of shots, but also because Ryan has a lot of experience, which is something that this team desperately needs.
The former Valencia and Arsenal goalkeeper has not played much for Copenhagen this season since Kamil Grabara is favoured to play the position. However, he did appear in all 11 of Australia’s third- and fourth-round matches in AFC qualification for the World Cup.
In addition, Australia’s Ryan will compete in the World Cup for the third time, which will make him the goalie with the most World Cup experience in the country’s history. Should he play in all three of his team’s group games, he would tie for the most World Cup appearances by an Australian Socceroo with Mark Bresciano and Tim Cahill at nine. This would make him the Socceroo with the most World Cup appearances in history.
Mat Ryan – Australia
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that France is the overwhelming favorite to win the first match.
Our very advanced algorithm predicts that Les Bleus have a 73.4% probability of winning the match outright, while Australia only has a 10.6% chance of doing the same.
The probability of a draw is 16%, which cannot be ignored in light of the fact that France is plagued by injuries and is in doubtful shape coming into Qatar.