France was a popular option for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar due to their overwhelming success at the last tournament four years ago.
They seem to have the type of lineup that would make most FIFA 23 players drool with desire. Or at least they did that until there was a critical mass of casualties.
Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, two vital midfielders who were key to their success in 2018, are already gone. Didier Deschamps, the team’s head coach, has already lost two key players to injuries in the days after he announced his roster.
Even though the RB Leipzig attacker Christopher Nkunku was not expected to start, his absence was nevertheless felt. Among players from Europe’s top five leagues in 2022, Nkunku’s 48 goal involvements (37 goals and 11 assists) were second only to Kylian Mbappe’s 57 goal involvements (43 goals and 14 assists). Mbappe currently plays for France’s national team.
The retirement of 2022 Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema was also a significant event since he had led Real Madrid to league and cup double victories in his last season with the club (2021-22).
France, however, would be the only nation in the world to survive a simultaneous attack of such magnitude.
If Mbappe starts the opening game against Australia, he will most likely be paired with either Olivier Giroud or Antoine Griezmann, depending on who of the two Deschamps he chooses to play with. Deschamps is likely to go with the same offensive front three he used at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Giroud has extra motivation now that he’s just two goals behind Thierry Henry’s record for Les Bleu’s all-time goals scored total (51).
The Milan striker stated during a press conference on Friday, “Obviously I’ve got this ambition, this kind of bonus in my head to beat [Henry], but the major target as a team is to go as far as we can in the tournament.”
Success, however, would need France to improve on their recent record, since they have won just one of their six UEFA Nations League games between June and September (D2, L3).
The first team they’ll face is an Australian one that only made it to Qatar after a nail-biting penalty shootout triumph against Peru in a play-off match.
In spite of the day’s hero, dancing substitute goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold will need motivation from others if his team is to improve its World Cup record.
Arnold’s tenure as Guus Hiddink’s assistant coach in 2006 was the only time they progressed beyond the group stage. Four out of the previous five times they participated, they were knocked out in the group stage.
Among teams that have played 10 or more games in the finals, only Bulgaria (12%) has a poorer victory percentage than Australia (85% – 15 of 20). (two of 16 wins). Australia has won just 13% of their World Cup matches (two of 16).
As if that weren’t bad enough, they’ve taken a major injury blow with the news that Martin Boyle won’t be competing after all because of a knee injury. Arnold is confident in 21-year-old winger Marco Tilio’s abilities to succeed in his place on the Melbourne City roster.
In addition, Arnold said, “Marco has done everything that has been expected of him in order to be ready for this event.” Marco has “completed all requirements placed upon him.” We are excited to see what he can bring to our group for the tournament since he was an integral part of our Tokyo 2020 Olympic squad, he has started the men’s season well in the A-League, and he is familiar with the national team set-up.
Watch Out For These Players
Mbappe, Kylian, from France
Losing players like Nkunku and Benzema is never pleasant, but it helps to mitigate the blow when you still have one of the most exciting attackers in world football at your disposal.
With four goals in seven matches, Mbappe was a major factor in France’s 2018 World Cup victory. The young French hero, at the tender age of 19 years and 183 days, not only became his country’s youngest-ever goalscorer in a World Cup, but he also became just the second adolescent ever to score in a World Cup final, joining the legendary Pele of Brazil, who did it in 1958 against Sweden.
His 19 goals in 20 games for Ligue 1’s best team, Paris Saint-Germain, show that he has been almost unstoppable this season.
Mbappe scores all of PSG’s goals.
Ryan Mat for Australia
Australia will have plenty of opportunities to score against the defending world champions, and Ryan’s wealth of experience will be invaluable.
Kamil Grabara has been getting most of the starts between the posts for Copenhagen this season, so the former Valencia and Arsenal goalkeeper has not seen much action. All 11 of Australia’s matches in the AFC’s third and fourth round of World Cup qualification saw him make an appearance.
The Australian goalkeeper Ryan will be making his third World Cup appearance, giving him the most World Cup experience of any Australian goalkeeper. If he plays in all three of Australia’s group games, he would equal Mark Bresciano and Tim Cahill for the most World Cup appearances by an Australian Socceroo with nine. Having done so would make him the Socceroo with the most World Cup appearances ever.
Matt Ryan, from Down Under
It’s no secret that France is the clear favorite to win the first game.
According to our cutting-edge technology, France has a 73.4% chance of claiming a clean sweep over Australia, while the Aussies have only a 10.6% chance of accomplishing the same.
When considering France’s injury woes and its questionable condition heading into Qatar, the 16% chance of a draw is hard to dismiss.