France, the World Cup defending champions, will play their first match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament against Australia on November 22, 2022, at 22:00 pm EAT.
Is the curse real? Why France could crash out in the first round [Pulse Editor's Opinion]
Over the past years, World Cup defending champions have crashed out in the first round, will the same curse catch up with France this year?
Defending champions from Europe have failed to advance past the group stage with Germany being the latest casualties after slipping out of the tournament in 2018 in Russia. The history stretches back to 1998
France could be en route to accomplishing what they did 20 years ago and here is why:
France is heading into the 2022 FIFA World Cup without some key players due to injuries picked up over the last few weeks before the tournament.
Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante who played a major role in France's victory over Croatia will miss this year's tournament after picking up long-term injuries.
Karim Benzema who was called up recently for international duties will miss the tournament after his injury got from bad to worse while in Qatar.
Missing such quality players in the team will have a huge impact considering they are players who can determine how the score sheet will look like.
Pressure to retain the title
"We are the defending champions!" These words will be ringing in most of France's players' minds when they get out there to defend their title.
The pressure will be massive and will impact most of them differently, especially the young players that have been called up to the World Cup for the first time.
Will they handle the pressure? Australia will have nothing to lose today when they meet France, but what about the Les Bleus? Think about it.