Kazan Arena - World Cup Group C
The Group C favourites get underway on Saturday morning, as Euro 2016 finalists, France, face competition underdogs Australia. The Socceroos qualified at the last possible moment, with a win over Honduras in the Playoffs, but have been looking good in their recent friendlies.
France hammered there opponents when they last met, with an Oliver Giroud brace contributing
to a 6-0 win. However, Australia have the better record, having won the two previous games, both by one goal to nil.
The french medical team are hoping to have Olivier Giroud back from Saturday's game, after the Chelsea striker suffered a clash of heads in a friendly against the USA. The forward's absence could see Antoine Griezmann step into the central striker role, with Ousmane Dembele or Thomas Lemar filling in.
Premier League duo Adam Mooy and Mat Ryan are likely to start in midfield and in goal respectively, whilst Tim Cahill, Mile Jedinak will provide experience for Bert van Marwijk's side.
France v Australia Preview and Predictions
Having missed out so narrowly in their last international competition, France will be fiercely driven going into the World Cup. Arguably, they are better placed than two years ago, with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Dembele adding a youthful dimension to a side that had stagnated previously.
Australia will kick-off with a very different brief to their rivals, as the Socceroos are very much the underdog of Group C. Even so, Saturday's game is far from a lost cause for van Marwijk, who has a highly capable midfield of Jedinak, Mooy and Tom Rogic at his disposal, not to mention Cahill, scorer of a Puskas nominated goal in the last World Cup.
Given the gulf in class between the two sides, Australia's best chance is to play to their strengths: set pieces and physicality. Les Blues have not been typically adept in either of these two areas, and have prioritised ball-players over warriors across the pitch, with Didier Deschamps hesitant to field the likes of Stephen N'Zonzi against defensive sides.
Regardless, France should have the ability to dispatch of Australia with relative ease, and will hope that a win on Saturday will prepare them for decidedly harder games against Denmark and Peru.
Antoine Griezmann to score first at 3/1
The Europa League winner is in fine form and will be keen to add another trophy to his collection.
Tim Cahill to score anytime at 8/1
The Millwall striker is Australia's all time top scorer with 50 goals and even at 38 remains a danger.