France boss Didier Deschamps expects Australia to be a ‘difficult opponent’ in their World Cup opener on Wednesday morning.
The defending champions arrive in Qatar after a less than ideal preparation and lost talismanic striker Karim Benzema for the tournament on Sunday to a thigh injury.
The Ballon d’Or winner will join a long list of absentees, which includes Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Christopher Nkunku.
Didier Deschamps is wary of the challenge Australia will pose on Wednesday
Deschamps, however, insisted there was no anxiety in the French camp as he prepares to take charge of his third World Cup as coach.
However, he conceded Les Bleus face a tough challenge against Australia.
‘We know that the first game in a competition is always very important,’ he said in his press conference on Monday.
‘There’s no anxiety or anything.Everyone is calm, everyone’s got a cool head.
France have lost their talismanic striker Karim Benzema for the entire tournament
But Deschamps insisted France’s preparations had gone smoothly despite the injuries
‘We know that Australia will be a difficult opponent, they’ll give us a run for our money, but we will put everything we can into place for the win.’
Having triumphed in Russia four years ago, France arrive in Qatar hoping to become the first team to win football’s biggest prize in back-to-back World Cups since Brazil lifted it in 1958 and 1962.
The omens, however, aren’t good.Injuries aside, no European side has ever made it out of the group stages after winning the tournament four years earlier.
France are aiming to become the first side to win back-to-back World Cups since 1962
Deschamps, however, struck a buoyant tone.
‘We’ve done everything possible,’ he said.
‘The boys are feeling good about this first game, the best that they can.’
A number of Les Bleus players sparked controversy this week, after claiming they had little more than a passing knowledge of the Socceroos.