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Giroud starts, no Varane in France line-up against Australia

France players warm up ahead of their opening fixture against Australia. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Olivier Giroud starts up front in place of the missing Karim Benzema as World Cup holders France begin their defence of the trophy against Australia at Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar on Tuesday.

Veteran AC Milan striker Giroud benefits from the withdrawal of Ballon d’Or winner Benzema, who was forced to pull out of the France squad on the eve of the tournament with a thigh injury.

Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann will all support Giroud in attack for the reigning world champions in the Group D clash.

Manchester United’s Raphael Varane is not risked in central defence having not played in a month due to a leg injury.

That means Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate and Bayern Munich’s Dayot Upamecano, who have a total of nine caps between them, will play together at the back.

Australia have seen winger Martin Boyle pull out of the tournament with a knee injury.

Craig Goodwin of Adelaide United therefore starts in a wide attacking role for the Socceroos, who lost 2-1 to France in the group stage at the 2018 World Cup.

Starting line-ups

France (4-2-3-1)

Hugo Lloris (capt); Benjamin Pavard, Ibrahima Konate, Dayot Upamecano, Lucas Hernandez; Aurelien Tchouameni, Adrien Rabiot; Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe; Olivier Giroud

Coach: Didier Deschamps (FRA)

Australia (4-3-3)

Mathew Ryan (capt); Nathaniel Atkinson, Harry Souttar, Kye Rowles, Aziz Behich; Riley McGree, Aaron Mooy, Jackson Irvine; Mathew Leckie, Mitchell Duke, Craig Goodwin

Coach: Graham Arnold (AUS)

Referee: Victor Gomes (RSA)

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