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Dissecting the Socceroos' three group games at the FIFA World Cup

In this article, Australia’s three group games and what they’ll need to go their way if they’re to defy the World Cup odds 2022 and secure a top two spot in Group D.

Ankit Kanaujia
Last updated: 22.11.2022
Dissecting the Socceroos three group games at the FIFA World Cup

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There’s no doubting that if the Socceroos are to achieve their greatest result since 2006 and reach the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup – not only will Graham Arnold’s side need to play out of their skin – they also need a little luck to fall in their favour. It doesn’t help that they’ve drawn arguably the toughest group at Qatar, with reigning champions France and Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark the two overwhelming favourites to progress to the knockout stages.

Their most winnable match-up will come against Tunisia – who sit eight places above them in the FIFA Men’s Rankings. While much isn’t expected of the Socceroos, they have consistently been a thorn in the side of a number of world-class teams in past campaigns.

Whether it be their 1-0 defeat at the hands of eventual champions Italy in the round of 16 in 2006, their thrilling 3-2 loss to the Netherlands in 2014, or their 2-1 defeat to France and subsequent 1-1 draw with Denmark in 2018 – the Aussies have proven time and again that they refuse to lie down.

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With that in mind, read on as we preview Australia’s three group games and what they’ll need to go their way if they’re to defy the World Cup odds 2022 and secure a top two spot in Group D.


Australia vs France

The Socceroos’ campaign kicks off against France – an extremely formidable outfit that boasts some of the game’s most talented players. You have to look no further than Kylian Mbappe and Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, whose brilliance should realistically be too much for Aaron Mooy and company. However, the 38th ranked side will take confidence from their aforementioned World Cup match-up with France in 2018.

After going down due to a penalty, the Socceroos hit back immediately with a goal from the spot of their own after Samuel Umtiti was deemed to have committed a handball. All tied up at 1-1 with less than ten minutes remaining, and it appeared as though the Socceroos were going to come away with an historic draw. That was until Paul Pogba’s deflected effort off Aziz Behich broke the deadlock with nine minutes left in regulation time, as the own goal secured the all-important second for France with a looping finish over the top of Socceroos keeper Matt Ryan.

Although the French would go on to win 2-1 and the World Cup thereafter – this year’s preparation has been far from smooth. The Didier Deschamps-managed side have been hit with some untimely injuries, which has resulted in them widening in the pre-tournament betting odds. Pogba and N’Golo Kante will miss France’s tilt at a back-to-back title – and while that’s incredibly unfortunate for football fans across the world – it increases Australia’s chances of causing an unlikely upset.


Australia vs Tunisia

This is a must-win game for the Socceroos if they are to have any hope of getting out of Group D. They will have their work cut out for them if they’re to do so, with Tunisia in strong form leading up to the World Cup that includes 3-0 and 2-0 victories over solid teams Japan and Chile respectively. That’s a far cry from the form Australia exhibited through their qualifiers, struggling in losses to Saudi Arabia and Japan – to coincide with disappointing draws with China and Oman.

Although Arnold is tipped to implement a defensive approach against France and Denmark, expect to see Australia utilise a more forward-thinking gameplan when they take on Tunisia.


Australia vs Denmark

Since their 1-1 draw at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Denmark have improved immensely, while Australia has regressed. Therefore, if the Socceroos are to challenge the current world number 10 ranked outfit, they need to limit the production of Manchester United midfielder Christian Eriksen – whose performances at club level this season have been exceptional. That’s easier said than done however, with the Dane’s ability to dictate the pace something that could ultimately prove the difference.

With that being said, if Australia can keep the score deadlocked for the majority of the game, they give themselves every chance of stealing it late. With that scenario in mind, look out for their danger man Ajdin Hrustic, an attacking midfielder for Serie A club Hellas Verona who certainly has enough class to bag a few goals at this World Cup.

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