France vs Australia: World Cup 2022 – live | World Cup 2022

key events

6 minutes: That is until Mbappe Atkinson skins down the left. However, the first Tasmanian to appear at a World Cup is not giving up and has enough green and gold support to smuggle the ball away.

5 minutes: Australia have settled in well, winning a string of second balls and looking poised to recycle possession through Mooy. A lack of incision is inevitable, but still a good sign.

4 minutes: Australia are getting a feel for the ball but are a little clogged up in midfield and McGree attempts a snap from 35m which is terribly passed on the edge. A good pressing wins the ball back high upfield, but Goodwin can’t escape on the left.

2 minutes: France in front from the start. They enjoy 45 seconds of possession before Australia gets a touch and that includes Dembele Behich skinning down the right and cutting off a cross from which Mbappe earned a corner. The standard situation is snapped dangerously, but the Socceroos clarify. Ominous start of the French.

Ousmane Dembele blocked an early shot.
Ousmane Dembele blocked an early shot. Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Kicking off!

Let’s go, the defending champion is at the start.

“Let’s get down to business” booms out of the loudspeakers while the players huddle together. That’s the real sound of Qatar, isn’t it?

anthem time. France early on in the advantage.

Here they come out of the tunnel, France in their beautifully crafted tricolor uniform of dark blue, white and red. Australia alongside them in gold shirts, green shorts and white socks.


Guess what? Go on. That’s right, it’s warm and dry in Al Wakrah with temperatures in the low to mid 20’s. Fans and players are cooled by the air conditioning in the stadium.

“As someone who grew up on Tim Cahill’s dependable World Cup magic and is struggling to forget the Socceroos’ version of 2018, I think the best I can ask for from the lads is some fighting spirit and the World Champions for so long frustrate we can contain it.” Ezra Finkelstein there with an email that I think encapsulates the feelings of many Aussie fans.

The two senior analysts on Australian television are former internationals John Aloisi and Craig Foster, who have just delivered an excellent tactical package detailing Graham Arnold’s game plan. Expect very low block, long diagonal balls to Duke standing in one of the channels for his supporting attackers to feed off of him, and a reliance on Souttar from set pieces.

In case you’re just waking up in Australia and getting ready for the action, a quick recap of what’s already happened in Qatar. In short: six teams, three goals, a saved penalty and the excitement of the excitement.

Simon McMahon chimed in with some Tangerine Pride and told me: “Australian Aziz Behich joined Dundee United in the summer and tonight will be the first current United player likely to play in the World Cup for a while. It’s not quite Malpas, Gough, Narey, Bannon and Sturrock at Mexico 86, but still. Harry Souttar also started his professional career at Tannadice, so go United, and go Australia!”

The Socceroos’ connection to Scotland runs deep, very deep.

referee: South Africa’s Victor Gomes will of the whistle today. He oversaw the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations final between Senegal and Egypt and received praise for reporting bribes in a CAF Confederation Cup match.

Also worth mentioning is fourth official Salima Mukansanga, one of the six female officials at the tournament.

South African 🇿🇦 referee Victor Gomes officiates today’s final match between reigning champions France 🇫🇷 & Australia 🇦🇺. He is supported by his compatriot Zakhele Siwela and Souru Phatšoane from Lesotho.

The Rwandan 🇷🇼 Salima Mukansanga was nominated as the fourth official.

— Usher Komugisha (@UsherKomugisha) November 22, 2022

France and Australia and sports you say? That can only mean that Richie Benaud is chewing the fat in Île-de-France and sporting his iconic cream/bone/white/off-white/ivory/beige jacket. And a few elephants.

Of course, it’s only fair to share some France content as well.

Emma Kemp is our Aussie eyes and ears in Qatar and she has been busy filing reports on all things Socceroo.

Australia XI

There are lesser-known names in Australian gold, but Graham Arnold has named an experienced backbone, starting with former Arsenal goalkeeper Mat Ryan, Stoke City centre-back Harry Souttar, Celtic midfielder Aaron Mooy and the combative, leading Mitchell Duke .

It remains to be seen how this eleven will threaten such a formidable opponent, but expect set pieces to matter. The 198cm tall Souttar has scored six goals in his 10 international appearances and will be the center of attention when Australia take a corner or free-kick.

France XI

Much has been reported about France’s bad luck with injuries, but without taking a deep breath: Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kanté, Karim Benzema, Rafael Varane, Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku, Didier Deschamps has named an impressive starting XI.

He has opted for a youthful and attacking 4-2-3-1 formation with pace. Good luck keeping up with Dembele and Mbappe at the break.

Tonight’s game offers our first look at Al Janoub Stadium in the city of Al Wakrah, a bit south of Doha CBD. The plaza seats 40,000 fans and was designed by the late Zaha Hadid.

“The Qatar stadium’s resemblance to a woman’s privates may be unintentional, but for my part I applaud it,” wrote Holly Baxter a few years ago. “With its glossy pink hue, labia-like side appendages, and large center opening, the supposedly innocent building (based on the design of a traditional Qatari dhow boat) was just begging for trouble.”

For her part, Hadid dismissed such suggestions as “ridiculous” and “embarrassing.”

I mean…


Jonathan Howcroft

Jonathan Howcroft

Hi everyone and welcome to the live broadcast of match eight of the 2022 World Cup, France vs Australia, from Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah. Kick-off for this Group D clash is at 22:00 local time (6:00 AEDT/19:00 GMT).

For the second tournament in a row, France and Australia open their campaigns against each other. In Kazan four years ago, the eventual champions fought a 2-1 win through a late deflected winner. You’ll expect a more routine three points tonight.

At least on paper, there will be few noticeable discrepancies throughout the tournament. France are world champions and 2021 UEFA Nations League winners. Even without a few notable absences, Les Bleus have a squad as strong and talented as any in the competition, with a long-serving coach capable of building a side of proven fighters and unite the best prospects in the game.

In contrast, Australia are ranked 38th in FIFA and required an odyssey of 20 games to qualify, one of which ended in a penalty shoot-out win over Peru. Only four members of Graham Arnold’s squad have more than 50 caps (half the group have 10 caps or less) and just two are signed with clubs in any of Europe’s top five leagues. “I don’t know any of the players individually,” said Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konaté on Sunday.

France will draw inspiration from Kylian Mbappé, a man worth hundreds of millions of dollars and a proven World Cup pedigree. Australia to Celtic journeyman Aaron Mooy, one of six Scotland-based Socceroos.

“You can say that our players don’t play in the best leagues in the world, but all of their players are,” Arnold said this week. “But it’s about team spirit, it’s about bringing 11 players – and 26 players – together in a family environment, making sure they’re buddies and have each other’s backs. Then you can achieve special results.”

But as certain as the result looks in advance, it has to be earned, and France know from bitter experience how a World Cup season can go haywire – especially as the defending champions. Also, it fits Arnold’s character to delve into the “little Aussie fighter” trope. “We have Aussie DNA,” he said. “We’re going to go out there and fight, kick and scrape, do whatever is required.”

It’s about an hour before kick-off, so don’t hesitate to spend that time emailing me. Or, if you haven’t disembarked yet, tweet me @JPHowcroft.

France + Australia = Vaudeville Smash.


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