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Women's World Cup: France offer biggest challenge yet for Australia

Co-hosts Australia have improved as the Women’s World Cup has progressed, but a quarter-final against France is undoubtedly the sternest test they have faced so far in the competition.

The Matildas looked to be in danger of making a group-stage exit after a 3-2 loss to Nigeria, but since then have responded with a 4-0 victory over Canada and a 2-0 win against Denmark in the last-16.

Those two results and performances have raised the hopes of the home fans that their side can possibly reach the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in their history.

Australia made the last eight in 2007, 2011 and 2015, but were unable to see off Brazil, Sweden and Japan respectively.

WhatAustralia Women v France Women
WhereBrisbane Stadium, Brisbane
When17:00 (AEST), Saturday 12th August 2023
How to watchChannel 7
OddsAustralia Women 3.75, Draw 3.10, France Women 2.10

Les Bleues full of goals

While Australia have upped their game to reach the quarter-finals, France have continued to show the form which has seen them reach the last eight at the last two World Cups, having made it to the semi-finals back in 2011.

Coached by the vastly-experienced Herve Renard, Les Bleues have rattled in 12 goals in their four games played in the tournament, with the sole blemish a goalless draw with Jamaica in their opening fixture.

Lyon forward Kadidiatou Diani has netted four times so far - including a hat-trick in the 6-3 win over Panama - while her club colleague Eugenie Le Sommer has three goals to her name.

Diani is 3.20 to score anytime in Brisbane on Saturday and is 7.00 to net the opening goal of the game, with Le Sommer 5.50 in the latter market.

France also seem to make a habit of starting fast in games, having netted four times in the first half against Panama, before notching three of their four strikes in the 4-0 last-16 win over Morocco in the opening 45 minutes.

With that in mind, Les Blueus are 2.87 to win the first half in Brisbane and are 1.57 to qualify for the semi-finals at the expense of the co-hosts.

One area where Australia will look to capitalise on is the French defence, which has conceded four goals in four games and has not looked anywhere near as impressive as their attacking array.

Matildas ticking into top form

Australia were largely unimpressive as they opened their group campaign with a 1-0 win over Republic of Ireland and a reverse at the hands of Nigeria.

However, when faced with a crucial game against Olympic champions Canada they responded in superb style and were then in control for the most part of their last-16 win over Denmark.

Star striker Sam Kerr finally overcame a calf injury to come on as a late substitute in the victory over the Danes and she could be pushing for a starting role against France.

Emily van Egmond may be the player to make way for Kerr, but she is happy to do so, telling reporters: "Sam's the best striker in the world. There's no other way to look at it other than it's a massive positive for us going into this game."

In truth, coach Tony Gustavsson has plenty of options even if Kerr is not quite ready to start, with Caitlin Foord and Hayley Raso both on the scoresheet against Denmark.

Real Madrid forward Raso has netted three times in her last two appearances and is perhaps surprisingly out at 6.50 to score anytime against France.

Australia can take inspiration from a 1-0 pre-tournament friendly win over Les Bleues and the Matildas can be backed at 2.25 to reach the semi-finals for the first time in their history.

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