Argentina determined to bounce back, France eye successive wins

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France will look to continue their title defence on Saturday with back-to-back wins, while Argentina need to recover quickly from their shock loss to Saudi Arabia.
The action gets underway with a Group D encounter between Tunisia and Australia at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah.
The Eagles of Carthage picked up a point in their World Cup opener against Denmark, although they were perhaps fortunate to come away with a 0-0 draw after Andreas Cornelius hit the post from a yard out.
The Danes also were denied a penalty in stoppage time when the referee decided to stick to his original call after viewing the incident on the pitchside monitor for a potential handball by Yassine Meriah.
Tunisia head coach Jalel Kadri fully expected the penalty to be given and was relieved to see VAR work in their favour on this occasion.
"I thought we would get that penalty given against us and the VAR has every right to intervene," Kadri said. "But today it was in our favour and this is what football is all about. VAR decisions have to be respected."
The Socceroos will need to pick themselves up after squandering an early lead to lose 4-1 against France on Tuesday.
Craig Goodwin stunned the 2018 champions when he broke the deadlock on nine minutes but Graham Arnold's side failed to recover after finding themselves 2-1 down at the break.
Saudi Arabia will be in buoyant mood as they prepare to face Poland at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan.
The Green Falcons produced the upset of the opening round when they beat tournament favourites Argentina 2-1 on Tuesday.
They had to come back from a goal down to collect all three points after Lionel Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot on 10 minutes, with second-half goals from Saleh Al-Shehri (48') and Salem Al-Dawsari (53') turning the tide in the Saudis' favour.
Meanwhile, the Eagles played out to a goalless draw with Mexico on Tuesday, although they passed up a glorious opportunity to claim maximum points when star striker Robert Lewandowski saw his penalty saved by Guillermo Ochoa on 58 minutes.
Nothing less than a win will do for Czeslaw Michniewicz's side on Saturday as they still have Argentina to contend with in their final group game.

Didier Deschamps
Image copyright: Getty Images

France will be eyeing payback when they lock horns with Denmark at the Stadium 974 in Doha.
Les Bleus were also placed in the same group as the Danes in the UEFA Nations League and lost twice to them in a disappointing campaign.
Didier Deschamps' side will take inspiration from their fightback against Australia, which saw Adrien Rabiot (27'), Olivier Giroud (32', 71') and Kylian Mbappe (68') get on the scoresheet to cancel out Goodwin's early opener.
Deschamps was pleased to get a response from his players after suffering the early setback and admitted it was important to make a winning start to their title defence. 
"It's a good beginning to the tournament," he stated. "The opening match is always vital and important. I would like to congratulate the team and the players.
"We have seen some games earlier where teams couldn't respond, but we did even though we went behind."
The Scandinavians should have beaten Tunisia on Tuesday but Cornelius somehow managed to hit the post with a header from point-blank range, while the referee failed to award them a penalty at the death after an intervention from VAR.
Argentina have their work cut out for them as they come up against Mexico at the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail.
La Albiceleste will need to follow in the footsteps of the class of 1990 following a shock defeat to Saudi Arabia first up. The South American champions also lost their 1990 World Cup opener to Cameroon but went on to reach the final before being beaten by Germany.
It was their first defeat in 35 matches and Messi admits they find themselves in unfamiliar territory but is backing his team to turn things around and prove their title credentials.
"It's a situation that this group of players has never been through, it's been a while since we suffered such a tough blow, we didn't expect to start like this," the PSG forward said..
"In five minutes of mistakes that we made, we went 2-1 down and then it was really tough and we lost organisation and started punting the ball.
"It's up to us to fix what we did wrong and get back to the basics of who we are. Now's the time to be more united than ever, to show how truly strong we are."
El Tri will be wary of an Argentina backlash but they can take heart from their display against Poland last time out.
Gerardo Martino's side looked more dangerous in Doha, although they had Ochoa to thank for keeping them in the contest after he saved Lewandowski's spot-kick in the second half.
Group C remains wide open after the opening round of matches and the Mexicans have every chance of progressing to the last 16 for the eighth tournament in succession.

World Cup fixtures - Saturday, November 26

12h00: Tunisia v Australia
15h00: Poland v Saudi Arabia
18h00: France v Denmark
21h00: Argentina v Mexico

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Published: 11/24/2022