World Cup 2018 – Group C preview
One again with a strong group of players the French should feel they can do something in this tournament. The quality through the squad is abundant and they are the current European champions.
But, they are also prone to severe lapses in concentration, which when they come up against the more fancied sides could cause problems.
Let’s see which France turns up.
Key Man – Raphael Varane
The three-time Champions League winner has the difficult task of marshalling a vulnerable defence.
Coach – Didier Deschamps
Deschamps has turned the French side into contenders, but now is time to deliver on promise.
Qualified for a fourth consecutive World Cup. The Australians played 22 games in qualifying, including an Asian playoff against Syria and culminating with a playoff win over Honduras.
The nucleus of the young squad that went to Brazil four years ago has remained, helping the country win a first Asian Cup title in 2015 and develop an attacking style it touts as the Australian way.
Key Man – Mile Jedinak
Jedinak is back to full fitness and returned to stabilise the midfield and he scored a hat-trick against Honduras in qualification.
Coach – Bert van Marwijk
The 65-year-old Van Marwijk has significant experience, leading his native Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup Final.
Peru ended their 36-year World Cup drought by finishing fifth in the South America qualifying group, then defeating New Zealand in an intercontinental playoff.
Much of the team’s base players are now in Mexican clubs; goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, defender Luis Advincula, midfielder Pedro Aquino and strikers Raul Ruidiaz and Andy Polo. They only conceded seven goals throughout the qualifying campaign.
Key Man – Paolo Guerrero
The 33-year-old captain scored six goals in qualifying, has been given clearance to play in Russia after a drugs ban was lifted.
Coach – Ricardo Gareca
Since 2015 he has led a well organised Peruvian team to their first World Cup participation since 1982.
Denmark hasn’t played a major tournament since the 2012 European Championships but they are unbeaten in 11 games since back-to-back losses in qualifying against Poland and Montenegro in October 2016.
One of the fastest-improving teams in Europe. A 4-0 win at home to top-seeded Poland in September and the 5-1 victory at Ireland in the play-offs second leg.
Eriksen is in great form after a good league campaign with Spurs, scoring 11 goals in qualifying.
Coach – Age Hareide
Spent his entire career in Scandinavia, including a five-year spell leading his home country Norway.