FIFA World Cup: Weak midfield could spell trouble for France against Australia in the absence of injured Karim Benzema

Defending champions France have a strong front line despite the absence of injured Karim Benzema but they will need to overcome midfield weaknesses in their FIFA World Cup Group D match against Australia here on Tuesday. Most teams will include Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann or Olivier Giroud in their front line, then if all three are part of any team, then it is icing on the cake.Together, these three have scored 119 international goals for France, while their pace, experience and skill are unmatched.

The French midfield, however, is not that strong and could be a problem for the team against Australia. When the two teams met in their first World Cup encounter four years ago, France had to sweat it out to win 2-1 despite having their best players in midfield.France coach Didier Deschamps will miss the injured N’Golo Kante in midfield and Paul Pogba, who were part of the 2018 squad.

Pogba, who played 91 matches for France, scored one of his 11 goals during his team’s 4-2 victory in the final against Croatia. Pogba’s form has seen ups and downs since the last World Cup. However, the team will miss Kante more who has consistently done well for the team. In the absence of these two, Adrien Rabiot will have the responsibility in the midfield, then the team’s most experienced midfielder with 29 international matches. Rabiot is expected to play at left end in midfield.Aurelien Chouameni is expected to play in the center while Eduardo Kamawainga or Mateo Guendojie are expected to play on the right flank.

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In contrast, Australia have a strong midfield led by the experienced Aaron Mooi. Matthew Leckie was Australia’s best player in the World Cup 2014 and once again the team will have high hopes from him. Lecky is also the national team’s top scorer with 13 international goals. Both Lecky and Mooi made it to the starting XI against France four years ago. However, Australia coach Graham Arnold’s strategy will be affected with winger Martin Boyle ruled out with a knee injury.

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