Tip France - Australia
France play in a group that includes three of the current top 12 in the FIFA World Rankings including of course themselves. The harder games come later in the group as they take on Denmark and Peru but before that they take on Australia who are ranked 36 in the world. The French side have only lost one of their last 12 games and finished top of their qualifying group ahead of Sweden and the Netherlands. They head into this game with a squad that is full of players who, if playing at their best form, can be among the stars of this tournament. Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Greizmann will make life difficult for many a team, especially the Australian side they face here.
The Australians had a long route to the finals and won't have been happy with being drawn against such top opposition. They lost all three of their games in the last finals conceding three goals in each of their games. A repetition in 2018 is very much on the cards given their current form. After finishing third in their qualifying group, Australia had to play two two-legged play-offs to qualify for these finals. The big problem the Socceroos have is that they just can't get results outside of Australia. They failed to win away in any of their qualifiers meaning all the hard work had to be carried out at home. There's been a bit of improvement in their build-up to this tournament with wins over the Czech Republic and Hungary - though it took a 92nd minute own-goal to get them the win against the Hungarians - but this is a far tougher game. France know they can't afford any slip-up in this match but they should have the measure of the Australian side and the tip in this game is to go for France to get the win leading at both half and full time..
Key points France - Australia
Australia have only won one of their last nine games played at the World Cup finals.
France have only lost one of their last 12 internationals.
France last played Australia in 2013 and won 6-0
Conclusion France - Australia
France will be expecting to get a comfortable win in this game but might need to tighten up a bit at the back having conceded in three of their last four games. They have had a decent set of friendlies in the weeks leading up to this opening World Cup fixture though they needed a late Mbappe goal to get a 1-1 draw at home to the USA on Saturday. There are no major injury worries but know they can't afford anything but a win in this game with the tougher fixtures yet to come. Australia had a terrible time in 2014 and struggled to get to Russia and usually fall short against the top nations. Go for France to get their tournament off to a winning start and back them to be leading at both half and full time.
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France Australia Prediction published on June 18, 2018