Les Bleus will be determined to halt the defending champions’ terrible run when they face Australia in their first encounter at Qatar 2022TM. Everyone is talking about it. And, while it is rarely spoken, it will be the major concern of the whole France squad when they kick off their first game at Qatar 2022TM: the “curse,” and how to prevent it.
Les Bleus enter the event as world champions, a title that has proven to be a hefty burden this century. Except for Brazil in 2006, all Trophy winners have been eliminated in the group stage, with Italy (2010), Spain (2014), and Germany (2018) being the most recent victims. Indeed, no one in France’s camp will need to be reminded of Korea/Japan 2002, when their squad – crowned for the first time in 1998 – was eliminated after only three games, including a devastating and unforgettable loss to Senegal.
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The men of Didier Deschamps have been warned. It is now up to their coach to guide them through Group D, commencing with the first test against Australia on Tuesday, November 22nd at 22:00 Doha time. In Australia, they should expect fierce opponents who are usually difficult to outmaneuver. Graham Arnold’s team may lack star players from Europe’s major clubs, but their combativeness and collective spirit make them dangerous opponents, as seen by their qualification for the finals via difficult play-off games against the United Arab Emirates and Peru.
With a group well-versed in high-profile international events, Deschamps will attempt to dethrone the Socceroos. Above all, the world champions have a star-studded offense led by Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, and Antoine Griezmann. Les Bleus have only lost once in five prior matches with Australia, a 1-0 setback in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup. More recently, France defeated Australia in a hard-fought match in Russia in 2018, before going on to win the Trophy a few weeks later. They’d undoubtedly sign up right away for a repeat performance, to finally put an end to the “holders’ curse” for the first time this century.
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