Group C: France Outright Favourites, Eriksen Holds The Key For Denmark

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Group C teams: Australia, Denmark, France, Peru

Now, let us get to know more about this collection of teams that boasts a lot of talent.

Australia

Australia, one of the most dominant sides of AFC, secured a berth in a fourth consecutive World Cup. Expectations are relatively low as on paper, they appear to be the weakest team of this group. There is no doubt that it will be difficult for Australia to finish in the top two of Group C, however, it is not impossible.

The Socceroos’ biggest strength is going to be the balance of their side and that is enough to ensure that the team from Down Under will not end up being a pushover from their tricky group opponents in France, Denmark and Peru.

Captain: Mile Jedinak

Head coach: Bert van Marwijk

FIFA ranking: 40

World Cup appearances: 4

Best finish: Round of 16 in 2006

Players to watch: Tim Cahill, Mile Jedinak, Aaron Mooy

Fixtures

16 June: vs. France at Kazan Arena, Kazan

21 June: vs. Denmark at Samara Arena, Samara

26 June: vs. Peru at Fisht Stadium, Sochi

Denmark

Denmark, who have not played a major tournament since the 2012 European Championships, have been unbeaten in 11 games since October 2016. Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Christian Eriksen, who scored a superb hat-trick against Ireland, will be De Rod-Hvide’s dangerman, while winger Pione Sisto’s tricks will be vital for his team in Russia.

Denmark are likely to battle it out with Peru for second place but it is hard to see them going beyond the last 16.

Captain: Simon Kjaer

Head coach: Age Hareide

FIFA ranking: 12

World Cup appearances: 4

Best finish: Quarter-finals in 1998

Players to watch: Christian Eriksen, Kasper Schmeichel, Pione Sisto

Fixtures

16 June: vs. Peru at Mordovia Arena, Saransk

21 June: vs. Australia at Samara Arena, Samara

26 June: vs. France at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

France

The 1998 champions France are one of the favourites to lift the cup in Russia. Didier Deschamps, who captained France to victory at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, has turned Les Bleus into a force to reckon with but has yet to deliver a trophy.

France are one of the strongest squads on paper and the enviable array of proven star players will have to step up to help add silverware to the growing hype.

Captain: Hugo Lloris

Head coach: Didier Deschamps

FIFA ranking: 7

World Cup appearances: 14

Best finish: Champions in 1998

Players to watch: Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba

Fixtures

16 June: vs. Australia at Kazan Arena, Kazan

21 June: vs. Peru at Ekaterinburg Arena, Ekaterinburg

26 June: vs. Denmark at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

Peru

Riding on a 12-match winning streak since November 2016, Peru will feature in a World Cup after a 36-year absence. La Blanquirroja’s preparations for Russia were dealt a blow when Paolo Guerrero, who has scored the most goals in Peru’s history, was suspended for six months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) due to a positive doping test.

However, in a remarkable turnaround, Guerrero was granted a stay of execution by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland. The skipper’s ban will remain in place but crucially be delayed until after the tournament’s conclusion in July. Although this team’s weakest point is their lack of World Cup experience, this close-knit group has defensive consistency and are very effective in front of goal.

Captain: Paolo Guerrero

Head coach: Ricardo Gareca

FIFA ranking: 11

World Cup appearances: 4

Best finish: Quarter-finals in 1970 and 1978

Players to watch: Jefferson Farfan, Edison Flores, Paolo Guerrero

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