Defending champions France will lock horns with Australia in their opening fixture of the FIFA World Cup 2022 campaign on Wednesday, November 23, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar. The match is scheduled to start at 12:30 AM Indian Standard Time (IST).
The French national team is coming into the 2022 FIFA WC in Qatar on the back of a disappointing UEFA Nations League A competition, where they failed to advance to the knockouts.
In the six group phase games, they registered just one win against Austria, while losing three and drawing two of the remaining five games.
Things in their camp haven’t been smooth either as far as injuries are concerned.
As many as five first-team stars have been ruled out due to injuries, with N’golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Karim Benzema, Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku all set to miss the marquee event.
Les Bleus also hold the record for the worst-performing defending champions at football World Cups. France were eliminated in the group stage of the 2002 edition without a single win to their name, following their triumph in 1998.
Interestingly, since 2006, the defending champions of a given edition have failed to progress beyond the group stage of the following tournament, something France will be wary of.
As far as the Australian national team is concerned, they qualified for the group stage under dramatic circumstances.
The Socceroos’ last qualification game against Peru ended in a 0-0 draw in regulation time. Just ahead of the penalty shoot-outs, Australia coach Graham Arnold subbed in goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, which proved to be a decisive decision as he saved two penalties to help his team qualify for its fourth consecutive World Cup.
During the previous international break, they defeated New Zealand twice by scorelines of 1-0 and 2-0, which suggests their good form ahead of the headline event.
However, they have not been able to progress past the group stage since 2006, when they reached the Round of 16, which remains their best performance at the World Cups.
France vs Australia head-to-head
The two sides have faced each other on five occasions in all competitions, with France winning three of them. Australia won once while one game ended in a stalemate.
Interestingly, the two teams were slotted in the same group in the last edition as well, where Les Bleus emerged victorious by a 2-1 margin.
Where to watch France vs Australia FIFA World Cup 2022 match live in India?
The France vs Australia FIFA World Cup 2022 match will be telecast live on Sports18 and Sports18 HD TV channels in India.
Live streaming of France vs Australia match in the FIFA WC 2022 will be available on the Jio Cinema app and website.
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Featured photo: AFP