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Mbappe leads France attack against Socceroos


tiamin rice

France’s forward Kylian Mbappe warms-up ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group C football match between France and Australia at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 16, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Luis Acosta / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS

France coach Didier Deschamps left Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud on the bench for a World Cup opener against Australia on Saturday as teenager Kylian Mbappe leads Les Bleus’ front line in Kazan.

Mbappe, one of 14 players in France’s squad who have yet to feature in a major tournament, has been in great form for Paris Saint-Germain last season and will kick of Saturday’s Group C opener flanked by Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele of Barcelona.

Deploying his preferred 4-3-3, 1998 World Cup winners Deschamps’ midfield will see Manchester United’s Paul Pogba alongside Corentin Tolisso of Bayern Munich and Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante.

A four-man defence composed of Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Hernandez will have the job of stopping Australia’s Andrew Nabbout, of Japanese side Urawa Reds, from scoring on his World Cup debut.

Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic will be the link man for Nabbout, with Bundesliga-based Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin) and Robbie Kruse (VfL Bochum) providing support from the flanks.

Starting line-ups for the World Cup Group C opening game between France and Australia at the Kazan Arena on Saturday (1000 GMT kick-off):

France (4-3-3)

Hugo Lloris (capt); Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Corentin Tolisso, N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba; Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe

Coach: Didier Deschamps (FRA)

Australia (4-2-3-1)

Coach: Bert van Marwijk (NED)

Mathew Ryan; Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Mark Milligan, Aziz Behich; Aaron Mooy, Mile Jedinak (capt); Robbie Kruse, Tom Rogic, Mathew Leckie; Andrew Nabbout

Referee: Andres Cunha (URU)

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