Group C promises to be an interesting group to follow. You have the likes of France, who are capable of winning the tournament but have shown they can be very mediocre at times. Then there is Australia, who made it to the knock-out stages in 2014 despite being in a group with Spain and Netherlands. You have Peru, who play a good style of soccer and are filled with young talent. And finally there is Denmark, who overall have a decent team lead by superstar Christian Eriksen whose proven to be unplayable on his day.
France are a very interesting team because they have a very good young team, but they are so hold and cold. I guess that’s common because consistency in performances come with age and experience, but there should be no excuse for this French generation if they fail to win a major tournament. After losing in the EURO 2016 finals in-front of their home fans, you’d hope it was a good learning experience for a lot of those players. And that France would be motivated to make up for their failure. But, it’s hard to tell based on how they qualified. yes, they topped their group, but they were very inconsistent in their performances, which is their biggest issue.
Their team is solid all round. They have an experience goalkeeper and leader in Hugo Lloris. With Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtitti, they have two great centre-backs who are used to playing at the top-level. If they were to have a weakness it would be at left-back, but that’s all dependent on Benjamin Mendy’s fitness.
In midfield you have the likes of N’golo Kante, who is probably the best ball winner in the sport. Blaise Matuidi and Steven Nzonzi provide good depth. For creativity hey have Paul Pogba, who can be world-class one day and completely mediocre the next. And Corentin Tolisso has been great with Bayern Munich. He will provide a good balance in midfield.
Going forward is where France are lethal. There aren’t many nations with the fire power they have. They have the likes of Antoine Greizmann, Kylian Mbappe, Oliver Giroud, Ousmane Dembele and Thomas Lemar to name a few.
Player to Watch
Greizmann will be crucial to France’s success. He is often their go-to player when it comes to scoring goals. He can score goals and he can create them. He is often hard to mark as he picks up unique spaces between midfielders and defenders, which is something teams have to be careful about. If they lose their shape trying to cover him, the empty spaces will be exploited by the creativity and pace of this French team. He could be the golden boy of this World Cup.
Predicted Finish: First
Australia have it the toughest when it comes to qualifying for the World Cup. Being in an island away from everything means they have to travel long distances for qualifiers and playing in different climates. Yet, they still find a way to always Qualify.
The Socceroos will be most remembered for the Tim Cahill screamer he scored in the 2014 world cup. Despite being in a group with Netherlands and Spain, they still managed to make it to the knock-out stages where they lost.
The biggest issue with this team at the moment is they simply don’t have an identity and a preferred system and formation to play in. Sometimes they play with a back-three and sometimes it’s a back-four. And they are still reliant on Tim Cahill, who is going to be 38 years old. But they do have a few players, who have had breakthrough seasons that can help take the burden off Cahill.
Players to Watch
Aaron Mooy has been good for Huddersfield. The midfielder helped Huddersfield stay up in the premier league with his play-making abilities. He’s quite technical and has an eye for a pass. He is capable of dictating possession for his side and his set-piece deliveries are good, which bodes well for Cahill since he loves scoring with his head.
Predicted Finish: Fourth
This Denmark team is a team that should not be under estimated. They had to beat Republic of Ireland in the playoff’s for qualifying and they did. Head Coach Age Hareide likes to play a direct style, which suits them as they have strikers who can hold up the ball very well. But, this team is primarily dependent on their midfield. Eriksen was their top goal scorer in qualifying and Thomas Delayne, a box-to-box midfielder, finished second in scoring. Another bright spot in this Danish side is Pione Sisto. He is 23-year-old Uganda-born winger and is a great talent. He’s great with his feet and he is the type of winger who can make something out of nothing.
Their biggest weakness apart from having a consistent striker is their defence Andreas Christensen and Simon Kjaer are probably their best defenders, but Kasper Schemichael is good enough to win them a game or two which could go a long way.
Player to Watch
No, it’s not Nicholas Bendtner. Eriksen is their stand-out player and this World Cup will be a true test for him. With his club side Tottenham Hotspurs, he is surrounded with talent that frees up space for him. With this Denmark side that won’t be the case, so teams can afford to put more bodies around him. The question will be can he find a way to create his own space. In my opinion, he is one of the best creative players in the world and a good performance in Russia could see Spurs fighting off some big money offer for the midfielder.
He scored 15 goals and had 11 assists during the 2017/18 campaign for Spurs and he was phenomenal for Denmark in qualifying as he scored 11 goals in 12 matches. He can shoot, pass, dribble, and is lethal from set-pieces. He can do everything.
Predicted Finish: Second
It’s been 36 years since Peru have featured in the World Cup and they finally qualified thanks to their new generation of players. Head Coach Ricardo Gareca has brought in a new style of play and has relied on new, young players to make an impact. They play a simple style, which you can argue is a complicated style nowadays. They keep the ball on the ground, a lot of short passes, not many touches on the ball and good ball movement. If you are looking to watch some nice soccer, Peru could be that team.
Peru have a good spine. A talented goalkeeper, strong centre-backs, and physical midfielders who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. A lot of reliance will be on Jefferson Farfan to create a lot of their goals, now that Paolo Guerrero has been banned for a year due to cocaine use. But, there is some hope he may play after the captains for each opposition in their group signed a letter asking FIFA to allow him a chance to play.
Player to Watch
As mentioned already, Farfan is the player to keep an eye on for this Peru side. He registered 15 goals and five assists for Lokomotiv Moscow. Playing in Russia domestically will help him a little because he will be used to the environment and fields he has to play on. He’s good in the air, likes to shot and is strong enough to hold the ball up and get his midfielders involved in the attack. He is 33-years-old so this will be his last World Cup and you know he will do his best to end with a bang.
Predicted Finish: Third