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Group C Preview & Tips: Can Denmark take advantage of a 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 & 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 so it might be wise to look at other markets.
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 is currently getting limited minutes at Championship side Millwall but the 38-year-old could get a chance to end his football career in Russia.
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.
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 by 34-year-old striker Paolo Guerrero, Andre Carrillo and Jefferson Farfan, Peru have a strong midfield 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.
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.
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 and a favourable draw with Peru first up followed by Australia and France. With Cristian Eriksen pulling the strings they should have enough class to join France in the knockout stage and may even win the group.
Qualify from Group C: Denmark at 1.73
Win Group C: Denmark at 7.00