Lyon, France, 1st February 2022. An Ulhsport Official Ligue 1 Uber Eats matchball prior to kick off in the Uber Eats Ligue 1 match at the Groupama Stadium, Lyon. Picture credit should read: Jonathan Moscrop / Sportimage PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK SPI-1496-0104

France has added the UEFA Nations League as another significant trophy to their collection since defeating Croatia on that soggy evening in Moscow, but the drawbacks have outweighed the gains for Didier Deschamps and company.

France is already certain to give up their Nations League title after a poor showing in the 2022–23 competition that almost resulted in an unthinkable relegation to League B. France was eliminated from Euro 2020 at the last-16 stage.

This France team has also been plagued by numerous injury issues and off-the-field scandals. France already holds the unwelcome distinction of being the worst-performing World Cup defending champions after exiting in the group stage without a single victory in 2002.

Even though their only victory in their last six games was a 2-0 home victory over Austria, France still commands a healthy amount of respect as the defending champions.

However, history is not on their side as they attempt to become just the third team—after Italy and Brazil—to win back-to-back World Cups.

In fact, the three reigning champions who came before France—Germany, Spain, and Italy—all had their subsequent tournament runs end in the group stage. The last time the defending champions won their first match in a tournament was Brazil in 2006.

In the Socceroos’ playoff final match against Peru, Australia manager Graham Arnold perfected the art of substituting a goalkeeper for a penalty-saving specialist. Andrew Redmayne channelled his inner Bruce Grobbelaar in the shootout, helping to advance Australia.

Australia qualified for the World Cup finals for the fourth time in a row thanks to Redmayne’s efforts, but the Socceroos have lost three group-stage matches during that time and have only won one of their last nine games at the competition, a 2-1 victory over Serbia in 2010.

The Socceroos’ best result on the biggest international stage thus far is a round-of-16 spot in 2006, and despite their AFC qualifying deception, Arnold’s team enters their first game with a winning streak of five games in a row.

The Socceroos defeated their Oceanic rivals 2-0 and 1-0 in two September friendlies, but Australia hasn’t scored from open play at a World Cup since Tim Cahill’s blazing goal against the Netherlands in 2014.

Australia and France have previously faced off in the World Cup group stage, with France coming out on top 2-1 on the strength of Antoine Griezmann’s penalty and an own goal from Aziz Behich.

The Socceroos have only ever won one of their five meetings with Les Bleus, which came all the way back at the 2001 Confederations Cup.

1×2 Betting Odds

When these two teams met four years ago, not a single player from either team scored from open play at the proper end of the field, and that has historically been a weak point for Australia in World Cup games.

The Socceroos can find some solace in their recent victories and France’s ongoing injury problems, but the lineup for Les Bleus is still intimidating, to put it mildly, and we believe the defending champions will break the opening matchday curse and get off to a strong start.

The markets think the same!

The odds are staggeringly one sided toward France.

The odds of a victory for France stands at 1.31 and those for a stalemate stands at 6!

But the odds for an Australian win, stands at 12!

One takeaway, France is expected to easily win this one!

Total goals over/under

The odds that this game will have less than 2.5 goals stands at 2.25.

While, the odds that more than 2.5 goals will be scored stands at 1.78.

So, the market believes that this game could be a goal feast! Mostly because of France!