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Group C Preview & Tips: Can Denmark take advantage of cocky France?
France are favoured to win Group C against Denmark, Australia and Peru, but the Danes could surprise in Russia
Thomas Lemar, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe of France (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
2018 World Cup Group C Preview & Betting Tips
France are short priced favourites to win Group C with a tough battle expected between Denmark, Australia and Peru. With a favourable draw for the Danes and Christan Eriksen pulling the strings, they should have enough to qualify and might even shock a cocky Les Bleus.
France will participate in their 15th World Cup in Russia and hope to match their winning performance on home soil in 1998. There are very few weaknesses in Didier Deschamps’ squad and much will depend on his team selection and tactics. Among the favourites for the tournament, France have a world class squad including some of the most exciting young players in world football.
Antoine Griezmann was the leading scorer at Euro 2016 and is now joined in attack by the likes of Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappe. With a strong spine of Hugo Lloris, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, N'Golo Kante and Paul Pogba, it’s easy to see why there is so much optimism surrounding Les Bleus.
With a comfortable draw and favourable schedule including Australia first up followed by Peru and Denmark, there should be no excuses if France fail to win group C. At odds of 1.33 however, there is little value in it besides adding to accumulators so it might be wise to look at other markets.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Alphonse Areola (Paris St-Germain).
Defenders: Lucas Hernandez (Atletico Madrid), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris St-Germain), Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City), Benjamin Pavard (Stuttgart), Adil Rami (Marseille), Djibril Sidibe (Monaco), Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid).
Midfielders: N'Golo Kante (Chelsea), Blaise Matuidi (Juventus), Steven N'Zonzi (Sevilla), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich).
Forwards: Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona), Nabil Fekir (Lyon), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Thomas Lemar (Monaco), Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain), Florian Thauvin (Marseille).
Australia had to qualify for their 4th straight World Cup in strenuous fashion, getting past Syria in extra time in the Asian qualification play-off followed by an Intercontinental play-off win against Honduras. Manager Ange Postecoglou resigned shortly after securing Australia’s ticket to Russia with the team now under the guidance of Dutch manager Bert van Marwijk.
The Socceroos will rely on a strong midfield of Aaron Mooy, Mile Jedinak and Massimo Luongo with flair coming from Tom Rogic and Mathew Leckie. Australia’s greatest ever goal scorer Tim Cahill has been given the chance to end his football career in Russia, with 19-year-old Daniel Arzani called up after busting onto the scene for Melbourne City.
Postecoglou’s resignation was a big loss, but with Australia’s strength in midfield and a favourable draw, the Socceroos will fancy their chances of qualifying from group B. A tough opening match against France awaits, but there is little reason why positive results can’t be achieved against Denmark and Peru.
Goalkeepers: Brad Jones (Feyenoord), Mat Ryan (Brighton), Danny Vukovic (Genk).
Defenders: Aziz Behich (Bursaspor), Milos Degenek (Yokohama F. Marinos), Matthew Jurman (Suwon Samsung Blue Wings), James Meredith (Millwall), Josh Risdon (Western Sydney), Trent Sainsbury (Grasshopper Zurich).
Midfielders: Jackson Irvine (Hull City), Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa), Robbie Kruse (VfL Bochum), Massimo Luongo (QPR), Mark Milligan (Al-Ahli), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield), Tom Rogic (Celtic), Tim Cahill (Millwall).
Forwards: Daniel Arzani (Melbourne City), Tomi Juric (Luzern), Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin), Andrew Nabbout (Urawa Red Diamonds), Dimitri Petratos (Newcastle Jets), Jamie Maclaren (Hibernian).
Peru are appearing at their first World Cup since 1982 after narrowly edging Chile in South American qualification and beating New Zealand in the Intercontinental play-offs. Managed by Argentine Ricardo Gareca, Los Incas are expected to struggle in Russia but should provide an exciting spectacle with their high intensity attacking football.
Led up front by 34-year-old striker Paolo Guerrero Jefferson Farfan, Peru have a strong midfield behind them consisting of Renato Tapia, Christian Cueva, Víctor Yotún and Édison Flores. Two recent friendly victories against fellow World Cup hopefuls Croatia and Iceland provide optimism before Gareca fine tunes his squad.
With France and Denmark expected to progress from group B there is little pressure on the South Americans, but a positive result in their opening game against Denmark would put them in great position to qualify for the knockout stage.
Goalkeepers: Pedro Gallese (Veracruz), Carlos Caceda (Deportivo Municipal), Jose Carvallo (UTC).
Defenders: Aldo Corzo (Universitario), Luis Advincula (Lobos Buap), Christian Ramos (Veracruz), Miguel Araujo (Alianza Lima), Alberto Rodriguez (Atletico Junior), Anderson Santamaria (Puebla), Miguel Trauco (Flamengo), Nilson Loyola (Melgar).
Midfielders: Renato Tapia (Feyenoord), Pedro Aquino (Leon), Víctor Yotún (Orlando City), Paolo Hurtado (Vitoria Guimaraes), Christian Cueva (Sao Paulo), Édison Flores (Aalborg), Andy Polo (Portland Timbers), Wilder Cartagena (Veracruz).
Forwards: Andre Carrillo (Benfica), Raul Ruidiaz (Morelia), Jefferson Farfan (Lokomotiv Moscow), Paolo Guerrero (Flamengo).
Denmark have a proud history in the World Cup having won a game in each of their four appearances and getting past the group stage on three occasions. Managed by Norweigan Age Hareide, the Danes qualified for their 5th World Cup the hard way after defeating Republic of Ireland in the play-offs.
A 0-0 draw in Copenhagen was followed by Shane Duffy’s 6th minute opener in Dublin, but the Danes responded with five unanswered goals including a Christian Eriksen hat-trick to earn a place in Russia. Eriksen was instrumental throughout qualification scoring 11 goals and the 26-year-old will be heavily involved in Russia.
Denmark’s have a strong spine in Kasper Schmeichel, Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen, William Kvist and Thomas Delaney behind strikers Nicolai Jörgensen and Yussuf Poulsen. With a significantly stronger squad than Peru and Australia and a favourable draw awaiting them, there is no reason why Denmark should fail to qualify for the knockout stage.
Goalkeepers: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester), Frederik Ronnow (Brondby), Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield).
Defenders: Simon Kjaer (Sevilla), Mathias Jorgensen (Huddersfield), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), Henrik Dalsgaard (Brentford), Jannik Vestergaard (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jens Stryger Larsen (Udinese), Jonas Knudsen (Ipswich).
Midfielders: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham), Lasse Schone (Ajax), Michael Krohn-Dehli (Deportivo La Coruna), Thomas Delaney (Werder Bremen), William Kvist (FC Copenhagen), Lukas Lerager (Bordeaux).
Forwards: Andreas Cornelius (Atalanta), Kasper Dolberg (Ajax), Martin Braithwaite (Middlesbrough), Nicolai Jorgensen (Feyenoord), Pione Sisto (Celta Vigo), Viktor Fischer (FC Copenhagen), Yussuf Poulsen (RB Leipzig).
It’s difficult to find value in Group C with France heavy favourites to finish first. Denmark have a significantly stronger squad than Peru and Australia but are in terrible form. Peru and Australia will fancy their chances which means it's wide open to progress with Les Bleus.
Group C Winner: France @ 1.44
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