France will kick off their 2018 World

Cup campaign against underdogs

Australia at the Kazan Arena on

Saturday in Group C's opening

match. It seems to be a mismatch on

paper, with France being the

overwhelming favourites to win

Group C whilst Australia are not

expected to leave much of an

impression in Russia, with their

squad lacking the quality they have

enjoyed in recent years.

Former World Cup winners France

cruised to victory in Group A of

European qualifying, barring

disappointing draws to minnows

Belarus and Luxembourg and a

defeat to Sweden. They finished four

points ahead of Sweden and

qualified automatically.

Australia had a much more difficult

time to qualify for Russia, having to

go through two play-offs to

eventually book their place in Group

C. The Socceroos were only able to

finish third in group B of the third

stage of Asian qualifying, meaning

that they had to go into a Asian

playoff against Syria. They avoided

an upset and scraped through 3-2 on

aggregate, setting up an

intercontinental playoff against

Honduras where a Mile Jedinak hat-

trick in the second leg ensured that

Australia would reach their fourth

consecutive World Cup.