Australia will be France’s first opponent for the 2022 World Cup. Before Tuesday’s meeting (8 p.m.) between the two nations, here are the Socceroos’ strengths and weaknesses.
Aaron Mooy is Australia’s hub
The French team will finally launch its 2022 World Cup. The Blues have an appointment this Tuesday (8 p.m.) with Australia in a remake of their first match of the 2018 World Cup (2-1 victory over France). But what is the Australian selection worth four years later?
Present in Russia, Tim Cahill and Mile Jedinak are no longer there to supervise the new generation of Socceroos. Less experienced, the latter also seems less talented. A large majority of the players who compose it play in Australia. The others play in Scotland, Japan, the United States, Denmark or in small English, Spanish and Italian clubs (Brescia, Stoke, Sunderland, Hellas Vrone, Cadiz).
The Mooy, Ryan and Souttar assets
For the Blues, the objective will be to deprive Aaron Mooy of balloons. The Celtic midfielder is the hub of the Australian team. Once this threat has been neutralized, Graham Arnold’s players will have few assets to annoy France in the game. They will rather seek to break that of the Habs by imposing a physical challenge and by regrouping in defense.
Behind, the Socceroos can rely on the very good goalkeeper of FC Copenhagen, Mathew Ryan, as well as on the solid defenders Kye Rowles and Harry Souttar. The latter is a giant (1m98) who can cause problems for Didier Deschamps’ team on set pieces: the Stoke City player (English D2) has scored 6 goals in 10 selections. It will be a danger to watch closely for the Blues who have not always reassured in this exercise.
A physical team
As you will have understood, Australia is not a formidable opponent on the offensive level. It is a primarily physical team, which will try to stay solid behind and take advantage of set pieces to score. The Australians have less quality and experience than in 2018. But they are hardworking, they have legs and they will run. Physically, they will be ready. Tactically they stay in place judge for L’Equipe Fahid Ben Khalfallah, who left to finish his career in Australia, from 2014 to 2018.
On a match, they are able to annoy France, who had moreover managed to beat them, four years ago (2-1) , believes the former Tunisian international, who still lives in Australia. But he is still aware of the weaknesses of the selection of his adopted country: We are not going to lie to each other: Australia is more than average, less strong even than Tunisia. It’s up to the Blues to enforce the hierarchy.
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