Opponent Watch: France to unleash young stars on Socceroos

Were now just one sleep away from the Socceroos opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, with all eyes on the clash with France at 8pm on Saturday night (AEST), live on SBS and Optus Sport.

And with the minutes ticking down to the start of the matches in Group C, there plenty of news to keep a track of and it's all here in our latest edition of Opposition Watch!

DAY 26 WRAP: Anticipation building as 2018 FIFA World Cup™ gets underway

PREVIEW: Socceroos v France: The key questions


According to L’Equipe, France coach Didier Deschamps will field a youthful Les Bleus outfit in the side’s Group C opener against the Socceroos on Saturday evening.

France are expected to field 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe and 21-year-old Ousmane Dembele alongside Antoine Griezmann in either a diamond formation or three-pronged attack.

With Corentin Tolisso also in line to start ahead of Blaise Matuidi, France could field their youngest FIFA World Cup™ in 78 years.

Mbappe, who eased fitness concerns over an injury scare yesterday, said his partnership with Dembele and Griezmann as the side’s three forwards underlines the explosive potential of the French team.

"We are three players who appreciate each other. We put our egos on the side,” said the PSG starlet.

"There are not a lot of teams who have a better attacking lineup than us."


The prospect of facing a dual partnership of two of European football’s most prestigious talents would likely send shivers down the spine of any outfit in the world.

But when asked about the potential face off against a Mbappe and Dembele-led Les Bleus’ side, Socceroos defender Mark Milligan was confident Australia’s preparation will hold them in good stead for whatever comes their way.

“I don’t think it’s just those two,” Milligan told socceroos.com.au.

“I think they have quality all over the place and it’s going to be a massive challenge obviously not just for whatever back four takes apart but for the whole team.”

“It’s been a big focus of ours over the last few weeks – our defensive shape and the way that we do things so we’re under no illusions. it’s going to be a massive challenge but it’s one were looking forward to.”

Mark Milligan


Danish coach Age Hareide has questioned the work-rate of Peru skipper Paolo Guerrero ahead of the FIFA World Cup™ opener between the two nations on Sunday morning (AEST).

Guerrero was cleared to play at the FIFA World Cup™ after a Swiss supreme court judge granted an interim order to freeze the 34-year-old's 14-month ban, which he received for testing positive for a metabolite of cocaine.

While admitting the availability of the nation’s greatest-ever scorer was a boost for Peru, Hareide believes what Guerrero adds in talent may be offset by a lack of work-rate.

"He is a classic star player, a strong finisher and really good in the box," Hareide told Bold.dk ahead of the Group C contest in Saransk.

"But the question is how much it costs the team in relation to work effort.

Guerrero nets brace
Paolo Guerrero

"We have seen all Peru's matches, including the match against Sweden," added Hareide.

"Like us, they have a strong defence and, like us, have not lost in a long time. When they win the ball, they set off quick counter-attacks."

Sunday morning’s match (EAST) will be the first time the two nations have ever played at senior international level.

Stay tuned for exclusive Caltex Socceroos training camp photos, footage and insight onsocceroos.com.au or follow us on TwitterInstagram or Facebook.