Australia boss Bert van Marwijk feels Group C opponents France are well equipped to win this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
The Socceroos will face Didier Deschamps’ team in their opening game in Kazan on June 16 before tackling Denmark and Peru.
Van Marwijk will be one of the most experienced tournament coaches in Russia this summer. He led his native Netherlands all the way to the World Cup Final eight years ago in South Africa, losing out to Spain in extra-time.
He helped Saudi Arabia to qualify for Russia this summer before leaving his post soon after and he has since taken the Australian post that was left vacant by Ange Postecoglou’s surprise exit last November.
Going into the tournament van Marwijk has pinpointed France as potential champions, two decades on from their 1998 World Cup win on home soil.
“I’m telling you nothing new when I say this is a very difficult group, maybe one of the best at the World Cup,” he said.
“Especially France, and we saw in part of their match against Colombia [in March] they have a very good team and have a big chance of winning the world championship.
“They have very fast and creative players, are physically strong, and they have one of the best players in the world at the moment in [Kylian] Mbappe. They have a lot of weapons, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a result against them.”
France are 1.30 to win Group C, while Australia are 4.20 to qualify for the last 16.