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Socceroos face France, Denmark in Russia

The Socceroos will start their 2018 World Cup campaign against former champions and tournament fancies France, with group matches to follow against Denmark and Peru.

Australia has avoided another group of death in Russia but will be doing well to reach the knockout rounds after being drawn against three teams ranked in the world's top 12 nations.

France are the most formidable opponents.

Socceroos (pictured) will start their 2018 World Cup campaign against former champions

Socceroos (pictured) will start their 2018 World Cup campaign against former champions

Australia will face the French team (pictured: Les Blues) who are ranked as one of the 2018 favourites

Australia will face the French team (pictured: Les Blues) who are ranked as one of the 2018 favourites

Les Bleus are ranked as one of the favourites in 2018 - behind only Germany and Brazil - and were responsible for knocking out heavyweights the Netherlands in qualifying.

But the Socceroos will rate their chances of progressing past both Peru (world No.11) and Denmark (12) given their struggles to reach Russia.

Denmark finished second in their European group behind Poland, losing to minnows Montenegro at home.

They eventually qualified with a play-off win over Ireland.

Peru finished fifth out of 10 teams in South American qualifying, defeating New Zealand in a play-off to book their place at a first World Cup since 1982.

Sports commentators say the pool is better fitted this time around than four years ago in Brazil when Australia was up against Netherlands, Chile and Spain 

Sports commentators say the pool is better fitted this time around than four years ago in Brazil when Australia was up against Netherlands, Chile and Spain 

Australia, without a coach after Ange Postecoglou's resignation last week, needed two play-offs of their own to progress to a fourth-straight tournament.

But they will be buoyed by the draw, which is more manageable than their task four years ago: heavyweights Chile, 2010 finalists the Netherlands and Spain, the team who beat the Dutch to lift the trophy in South Africa. 

French coach Didier Deschamps was inclined to agree, saying the draw 'could have been worse'.

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