Palmerbet Sports Team look back at the Socceroos’ upset 1-0 win over World Champions France at the 2001 Confederations Cup. Can our 2018 World Cup squad emulate them with a similar boilover against Les Bleus this Saturday?

The year was 2001, the Socceroos kit was decidedly green (rather than gold), France were still on a high after their 1998 World Cup triumph, and their journalists were overheard in the press box asking how many they’d put past a hapless Aussie side.

“7-0? 8-0?” They allegedly quipped.

The French had started their campaign with a 5-0 win over South Korea, but the Aussies had started equally-impressively. Frank Farina’s side completely outplayed Mexico in their opening game, running out 2-0 winners with Josip Skoko and Shaun Murphy on the scoresheet. As a result, both sides came into the clash with confidence, although France were heavy favourites. They squandered several early chances and, as luck would have it, were made to pay. In the 60th minute the Socceroos were awarded a free kick from 30 yards, which Skoko whipped beautifully over the wall. Gregory Coupet in the French goal managed to push the ball onto the post, before it squirted out to Clayton Zane. The striker rasped a half-volley under Coupet and into the back of the net which proved to be the winner. It was undoubtedly Zane’s finest moment as a footballer.

Alongside other upset wins against Brazil and England in the early 2000s, this was (at the time) one of Australian football’s biggest boilovers. And the question we’re asking is: Can we do it again?

Another tight affair?

In the 2001 clash, the Socceroos defended for their lives – both before and after Zane’s goal. Seventeen years later and new coach Bert van Marwijk has made no secret of the fact he will sit eleven men behind the ball for long periods against Les Bleus on Saturday. Will this create a turgid affair or will France’s class shine through? Currently, the odds for Under 2.5 goals is at $1.94. If you think the French will prove too good, but won’t score three or more goals, the ‘France and Under’ market is at $2.88. And if you’re backing our boys to relive 2001, ‘Australia and Under’ is paying a tasty $23. Whatever happens, Matty Ryan will have his work cut out.

Who can be our Skoko?

Josip Skoko was incredible in that tournament for the Socceroos, and pulled strings from the middle of the park going forward. His free kick that resulted in the goal was a beauty. If we are to get a result against France this time around, who will play a similarly big role? It’s going to take a special player to get past France (and Tottenham) keeper Hugo Lloris, but one man is capable: Tom Rogic. His magically weaving runs are required to get past world class opposition, and he is the player who poses the biggest threat. He’s at $8 in our ‘Anytime Goalscorer’ market or, if you’re really confident in the Celtic gun, back him at $21 as the first goalscorer.

Pointing to the spot

France’s forward’s Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe have some of the sharpest feet in the world. And the aforementioned Rogic and winger Matthew Leckie are no slouches themselves. Therefore, there’s a distinct chance that, at some stage, the referee will be pointing to the penalty spot after a defender gets caught up and forced to slide in. Our ‘Penalty Awarded – Yes’ market returns $3.75.

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