World Cup Group C: Key stats, info and odds
The much fancied France and Australia amongst the quartet
The World Cup countdown continues and so does our guide to the 32 nations set to take their place in the finals in Russia.
Over at Coral News HQ we continue our run-down of each group. Today is Group C including the fancied French and one-time European Championship winners Denmark.
Manager: Former France captain Didier Deschamps has been a real force since taking over the manager’s position in 2012. However, after reaching the Euro 2016 final two years ago the pressure is on to take home some silverware.
Best WC result: France were crowned World champions in 1998. The team was captained by Deschamps and featured the young Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry. After narrow victories on the way to the final, they dispatched Brazil 3-0.
How they play: Today’s squad has a plethora of exciting attacking talent which will be unleashed on the world stage. Since two years ago, Dmitri Payet has been replaced by Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe has come in for Anthony Martial. A 4-3-3 is likely and if they can keep it tight at the back, the attack could win games on their own.
One to watch: This could be the tournament where Kylian Mbappe really comes alive on the biggest stage. The 19-year-old has been the name on everyone’s lips since he burst onto the scene at Monaco in 2016. He has continued this fine form with new club Paris Saint-Germain and could prove to be pivotal to France’s fortunes.
Things to consider: Since their duo of World Cup-European Championship wins in 1998 and 2000 respectively their hasn’t been much for French fans to get excited about. They made the final in Germany in 2006 and repeated the feat in Euro 2016 but couldn’t get over the line. Deschamps has shaken things up since then with this their best chance for a long time.
Manager: Former Holland boss Bert Van Marwijk took over from Ange Postecoglou following Australia’s World Cup qualification. It’s unconfirmed if Van Marwijk will stay on but his experience may prove vital if Australia are to make it to the knock-out rounds. The 66-year-old led the Netherlands to a World Cup final in 2010.
Best WC result: The best it’s got for Australia was a last-16 appearance in Germany in 2006. The Socceroos topped their group before going out to a 95th minute Francesco Totti penalty against Italy.
How they play: Van Marwijk will play a variation on 4-4-2 and prioritise structure and discipline. He’ll pin hopes on the talented trio of Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic and Massimo Luongo to crack opposition defences.
One to watch: Huddersfield Town’s Aaron Mooy will be the key-man in the midfield. Playing in a deep-playmaker role, Mooy can utilise his pin-point passing range and sharp eye for a pre-assist. If the 27-year-old’s on form then the Socceroos could have a chance of escaping the group.
Things to consider: Tim Cahill is still their most established forward, despite being 39-years-old. Van Marwijk has brought in the younger Andrew Nabbout and Jamie MacLaren but it may be the midfield where the games are won.
Manager: Coach Ricardo Gareca has had illustrious managing career in Argentina and latterly in Brazil with Palmeiras. He’s now guided the team to their first World Cup finals since 1982.
Best WC Result: Given they haven’t qualified for a World Cup for 36 years, you will have to go back to the times when you got two points for a win. The ‘class of 1970’ Peru squad made the quarter-finals losing to the eventual winners Brazil.
How they play: Gareca has added a little more beauty as well as substance to Peru’s play. They are likely to set-up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with the evergreen Paolo Guerrero in attack. Gareca has also been working on a possible switch to 4-4-2 with Jefferson Farfan partnering Guerrero in attack.
One to watch: Guerrero is the star of the team racking up 34 goals in 87 international appearances. If Peru score then it will usually be him.
Things to consider: Gareca is conscious of his team’s lack of back-up to Guerrero. Farfan still has something to offer but both players are the wrong side of 30. It may be that Watford loan star Andre Carrillo comes to the fore.
Manager: Former Manchester City and Norwich City player Age Hareide took over as Denmark manager in 2016. Previously in charge of Norway, this is the first international tournament he has qualified for.
Best WC result: France ’98 is the best it’s got for Denmark. A narrow quarter-final loss to eventual finalist Brazil represented a solid performance. They have only qualified twice since then with this being their first time back in the World’s elite since 2010.
How they play: The defence will be held down by Simon Kjaer and Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen and protected by Thomas Delaney. This will allow Eriksen to flourish and hope to provide the likes of Kasper Dolberg and Yussuf Poulsen in attack.
One to watch: Christian Eriksen is undoubtedly the star of the show for the Danes. The Tottenham play-maker has kept improving since his move from Ajax in 2013.
An impressive tournament from the 26-year-old could attract the attention of Europe’s big guns.
Things to consider: Despite not qualifying for either the tournament last time out, Denmark will be expected to qualify from the group. However, they could find goals hard to come by despite naming five strikers. The five men have a combined record of eight goals between them with Eriksen top-scorer with 21.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing