France wary of ‘quality’ Socceroos
FRANCE coach Didier Deschamps bristles at the thought. His team is considered a certainty to defeat Australia in Saturday night's World Cup opener for the two nations and it makes Deschamps uncomfortable.
"In football, I don't like the certainty word," he said.
"Certainties tend to be blown away very quickly."
Deschamps has studied the Australians in depth before the clash at Kazan Arena.
He's noticed a couple of things not readily associated with the Socceroos: quality and attacking threats.
"They have offensive potential," Deschamps said of Australia. "They don't play long balls. They try to play on the ground. They go to the sides, they go forward.
"It is well organised, it is highly disciplined.
"I am certainly not saying there is not quality on their team - absolutely not. There is quality."
Deschamps is expected to field the youngest French side at a World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1930 but rejects any suggestion it's a gamble.
"There is no risk," he said.
"I picked these players because I think they are good for the team.
"They are here because they have the quality required."
France have no injury worries, with forward Olivier Giroud and defender Djibril Sidibe declared fit after receiving knocks at training.
"The match will show it's own truth but … we have done everything to be ready," Deschamps said.
Very few believe the Socceroos can triumph in their World Cup opener - even coach Bert van Marwijk says an Australian win would be shocking.
"It would be a surprise," he admitted on the eve of their Kazan Arena clash.
Australia have won just twice in five World Cup campaigns - defeating Japan in 2006 when the Socceroos leapt out of the group, and against Serbia in 2010 when they missed out on our progression due to goal difference.
The expectation for Saturday night is that they'll be overwhelmed by the French, one of the favourites for a deep run in Russia.
Van Marwijk admits a loss is more likely than not.
"Normally, we play 10 times against France, maybe we lose eight, nine times," the 66-year-old said.
"We have worked hard to get a situation that maybe we lose five, six times (out of 10) but we also can win a few times and a few times draw. That's important.
"When you're well organised and you believe in something and everybody knows exactly from each other what to do and you have the guts to play and be yourself, then we have a chance."
While the Dutchman, who coached the Netherlands to the World Cup final in 2010, is prepared for a loss, he won't stomach a thrashing.
Having seen Saudi Arabia - the nation he led through World Cup qualifying - receive a brutal 5-0 thrashing by Russia in the tournament's opening match, van Marwick was in no mood to discuss his former side's performance, calling his tenure "history" and saying the Socceroos wouldn't be arriving with a loser's attitude.
"We cannot come tomorrow if we think like that," he said.
"We know that we are playing against one of the best countries of the world.
"We realise that we play against an opponent that has the chance to win the World Cup.
"Not always the best players win prizes. A lot of times, it's the best team.
"We would like to be the best team."