As Russia prepares to open the festivities for this year’s World Cup, we’re going to preview each group and discuss the exciting match ups to come. Next, we’ll look at Group C.
Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
Winners of European Group A, the French had a strong qualifying round to register for the 2018 World Cup. Under the watchful eye of coach and former World Cup Champion, Didier Champs, the French will deploy their abundance of young talent with hopes of making it through the early rounds. Many eyes will be on Antoine Griezmann, who brings his control and playmaking abilities to the attack with Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris providing strength in the net. The French had a strong Euro 2016 campaign, losing to Portugal in an exciting Final which required extra time to create a result. The French will see their final preparations take place in a Friendly with the US before the tournament.
Australia had a long and winding road to the 2018 games in Russia. Having endured 22 matches, and hundreds of thousands of miles of travel, the Australian team had to face 11 different opponents to gain their ticket to the final. The 22 matches are the most of any team in history required to qualify for the World Cup Final. A result of too many matches result in draws, the Australians were forced into a playoff against Honduras to claim their spot in this years tournament, and their 4th appearance in as many tries. After the resignation of coach Ange Postecoglou following qualification, Former Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk takes the reigns on a young and emerging Australian side.
The Peruvians make their 5th World Cup Final and their first appearance since 1982. This years roster was able to achieve a run of going unbeaten in 10 games, a feat that was last achieved almost eighty years prior. Edison Flores had an emergence in qualification, scoring 5 times in those 10 matches, and quickly became a source of consistency in the midfield. Peru required an inter-confederation playoff against New Zealand to gain qualification, winning 2-0 on aggregate in the effort. After a failed drug test, Peru’s all-time leading scorer Paolo Guerrero was forced to sit out of the qualification playoff, but was still named to the 23 man roster.
The Danes had a slow and steady build up during their qualification campaign. A big source of their success was midfielder Christian Eriksen, who amassed a shocking 11 goals during their journey through final matches with the Republic of Ireland to move on. With a final pre-tournament match up against Mexico, the Danes will get the opportunity to fine tune their system, and ensure that they are set to compete against a strong group. The Danes reached the quarter-final stage in 1998, and hope to be able to recreate that success at this year’s tournament. The Danes are relishing their underdog role, and hope to surprise the analysts and emerge from Group C.