Aussies hope for French arrogance in Cup

Steve Larkin
Tim Cahill (centre right) could become just the fourth player to score a goal at four World Cups

France and arrogance. The two go hand-in-hand.

And Australia's footballers are banking on it in their World Cup opener in Russia.

The Socceroos hope the French turn up to Kazan Arena on Saturday with their customary swagger, relaxed to the point of slumber.

"That's the biggest thing now against France," Australian stalwart Tim Cahill said.

"These guys are going to be so relaxed ... hopefully that relaxation they take will hit them and we can catch them."

France, overflowing with on-field riches with a squad worth more than $1 billion, are justifiably rated among the favourites to win the World Cup.

But Australia, at long-odds just to get of the group stage, insist they'll be respectful but not overawed.

"Coming out to the field and you see these big names - big salaries, huge presence - you can get intimidated and change the way you play," attacker Robbie Kruse said.

"It's about controlling those emotions and being brave enough to be yourself and try to play the football we need to."

The Socceroos have been training to implement a disciplined game plan against the French.

The training sessions have heartened Cahill but his enthusiasm is tempered by past World Cup experiences.

At the 2014 showcase event in Brazil, Australia conceded two goals to Chile in the opening 14 minutes of their tournament opener.

In 2010 in South Africa, Australia conceded two goals to Germany in the opening 26 minutes in their opening game.

The poor starts cruelled Australia's entire campaigns and Cahill was wary of history repeating at his fourth World Cup.

"There is definitely inexperience in the (Australian) side, there is a lot of players that haven't been to a World Cup before," Cahill said.

"When they get to play in front of a full house ... the expectation, the legs go weak, become numb; your mind becomes fuzzy.

"You can't practice for that."

But fellow veteran Mark Milligan, also at his fourth World Cup, noted the calming influence of new coach Bert van Marwijk, a Dutchman who took his native country to the 2010 World Cup final.

"The general feeling around camp at the moment is that it's quite relaxed," Milligan said.

"Bert creates that atmosphere. He's very confident in what he does and I think the boys have taken quite well to the way he want us to play."