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Australia vs. France Women: Expert Pick and Prediction – August 12, 2023

Australia vs France Women: Expert Pick and Prediction – August 12, 2023

This is a curious contrast of situations, with Australia vs France Women being a straight up battle of health vs. host.

On one side, France comes in as perhaps the freshest team in the tournament. The luck of the draw gave Les Bleus a straightforward path to the knockouts, as France drew with Jamaica and then handled Brazil and Panama to coast to the top of Group F.

When they got to the Round of 16, their opponent was shockingly not two-time world champion Germany, but debutant Morocco. Unsurprisingly, the French thrashed the newcomers, booking a place in the quarterfinals for the third straight World Cup.

Because of that easy path, which has included nobody from Europe or Asia, France’s squad has had the luxury of substituting and resting liberally. Notably, every member on the roster (save for the reserve goalkeepers) has played at least one match in this tournament.

Yet, the Matildas have Kerr back, and they have their fans behind them. The Aussie fans have backed their women’s team in a big way, and this will unquestionably be a favorable Aussie crowd. Will it be enough to send the French home in the quarters for the third straight time?

Match Preview

When: Saturday, August 12th at 3 a.m. EDT

Where: Lang Park, Brisbane, Australia

Spread: Australia +0.5/France -0.5

Odds courtesy of DraftKings.

Australia v France Women odds

Scouting Australia

In stark contrast to France, Australia slogged through a difficult group that included Nigeria and Canada, and had bad luck with injuries to Sam Kerr and Mary Fowler. They scraped through in first place and got a comfortable Round of 16 encounter with Denmark. But it’s clear that health and rest have not been on Australia’s side in its tournament.

The key for the Matildas is the same as always: can Sam Kerr play? If she can go for a full 90, she will, but most likely, the Aussies will bring her on in the second half in case of extra time. That means the job of goal scoring again falls to Caitlin Foord and Mary Fowler, who have stepped up in Kerr’s absence.

The Aussies did beat France in a friendly before the tournament, but fatigue could play a major role here. If this match is tight late, France will have far more options than Australia off the bench. That means there’s a lot of pressure on the Steph Catley-led defense, and Australia simply cannot afford to fall behind and chase the match.


Scouting France

In the opposite position of four years ago, France is both better and fresher than Australia. The French have learned from the friendly defeat to their next opponents and are better for it. They really shouldn’t make the same mistakes a second time.

In 2019, the French were the host nation facing a quarterfinal against the United States, and the home crowd wasn’t enough to carry Les Bleus forward. Now France is the side trying to crush the dream of the hosts as well as end their own struggles.

This side looks stronger, as Wendie Renard represents a real threat on set pieces and Eugenie Le Sommer has rediscovered her touch in front of goal. France has evolved into an excellent side, and with so many powers out, the French have to be considered a strong contender.

France has made it into the knockout stage four times running, but has never won more than one match at this level. The French reached the last four in 2011, the last year the tournament had only 16 teams, and they’ve gone out in the quarters in 2015 and 2019. That perhaps has an impact on them being only fourth-favorites in the current outrights:

Match Bets

France ML (+120)

Here’s a fun statistic: Other than the United States, who’s the only host nation to actually win the tournament, every host country has gone down in the quarterfinal. This is the ninth edition of the Women’s World Cup, and all six non-American hosts have been knocked out at this stage.

Both Teams to Score (+100)

Wendie Renard is kind of like the NHL’s Erik Karlsson at the back line: more known for creating attacks than snuffing them out. As a result, France’s defense has been kind of leaky since facing Jamaica’s punchless attack. The Aussies should find a goal in this one.

Final Score

France likes to jump on teams quickly, as the first goal has come within the first half-hour of three of four matches here. If Australia falls behind, it can come back, but it’ll use up most of its energy and become easy pickings for the French in the final 15 minutes. That’s what I’m counting on. I’ll play France 2, Australia 1 (+725).

FUN My Pillow

Dan’s Picks

  • France ML
  • Both Teams to Score
  • France 2-1

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