Who? France - Australia
Where? Kazan Arena, Kazan
When? June 16, 12:00 (CET local time)
One of the tournament favorites is kicking off their campaign, wishing to end it with the second ever title. Their coach, Didier Deschamps, has done it once in 1998 and wants to be part of this glory once again.
It was always a challenge for France to make the group of talented players to a team. Many remember the failure of Domenech in 2010, which ended with a completely horrible tournament. Deschamps succeeds in making the players a united group and the results are significant with a quarterfinals in the 2014 World Cup and finishing as runner-ups in Euro 2016.
Another challenge for the French team is the fact that many players are related to several tranfer rumors. Antoine Griezmann made a weird statement about his next season in Atletico Madrid, Thomas Lemar also have some issues with a possible transfer and many other players are on the usual headlines.
If these players could focus on the mission they have, France my be one of the best teams in tournament. In any other case, the French may find themselves struggling with players who don't to be part of this trip to Russia. That's where Deschamps will need to show his skills as the players' mentor in order to make them concentrate.
Australia made a long journey since the end of the qualification campaign. The Socceroos were one goalpost away from being eliminated in the Asian playoffs, but since then they had a complete change in the squad. The main one was in the manager position, when Ange Postecoglu resigned and replaced by Bert van Marwijk.
The Dutch coach made few changes in the squad and there is one player you can't miss. Daniel Arzani is the youngest player in the World Cup, born in January 1999. Arzani got his first senior call-up during the pre-World Cup preliminary squad. He impressed in both of his first two caps, including scoring a goal within a minute after he was substitute in.
Arzani will enjoy the guidance of one of the oldest players in tournament, Tim Cahill, which will be the first Australian to appear in four World Cup tournaments. Cahill is the last player left from 2006 World Cup squad, who made the best ever achievment for Australia, reaching the round of 16.
Australia knows that they are much weaker than the French team, but they hope that the spirit of their fans will follow them to Kazan. The Australian fans are well known as noisy and they will support their team until the final whistle.