Will France dominate Group C? This World Cup Group C preview contains everything you need to know about the teams ahead of the tournament in Russia.
World Cup Group C prediction: What do the odds say?
Elo World Ranking: 8
Pinnacle World Cup Power Ranking: 4
Previous best performance: Winners (1998)
Top scorer in qualifying: Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann (15 goals)
Key player: Paul Pogba
Odds to advance from group: 1.035*
Odds to win World Cup: 7.460*
Euro 2016 runners-up France possess one of the most talented squads at the World Cup and should not encounter many problems navigating this group.
The French can select from an enviable range of attacking options with only three from Ousmane Dembele, Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Nabil Fekir, Florent Thauvin and Thomas Lemar likely to start their opening game.
The attackers omitted from the French squad would start for the majority of their rivals. The likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Kingsley Coman did not even make the plane to Russia.
A formidable midfield containing Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante is backed up by a strong defence, making France one of the most balanced teams in the tournament and a genuine threat for the trophy.
Despite all this talent there are question marks over France’s tactical approach. They struggled at times in qualifying and were defeated by Portugal after a lacklustre display in the final of their home Euros. There are also concerns over Pogba who has endured a mixed season at Manchester United and has occasionally struggled to make an impression in a French shirt.
These issues may be exposed as the tournament progresses but a relatively weak Group C is unlikely to put the French under much pressure. Topping the group makes them likely to avoid Lionel Messi and Argentina in the round of 16 which will provide extra motivation after they have secured qualification
They should win this group without many problems, so taking odds of 1.333* on them to do so could be a good bet.
Elo World Ranking: 18
Pinnacle World Cup Power Ranking: 14
Previous best performance: Quarter-finals (1998)
Top scorer in qualifying: Christian Eriksen (11 goals)
Key player: Christian Eriksen
Odds to advance from group: 1.641*
Odds to win World Cup: 91.650*
Denmark finished behind Poland in qualification before hammering The Republic of Ireland in the playoff round. Christian Eriksen was key in qualifying, contributing 11 goals, and scored a hat-trick in Dublin to send the Danes to the finals.
Their qualification chances will likely be reliant on their talisman to perform again. Eriksen is a top-class talent who would grace any side in the tournament. He takes on a more attacking role for the Danes than he does for club side Tottenham Hotspur, allowing him the freedom to add goals to his usual assist threat.
Thomas Delaney and Daniel Kvist sit deep in midfield allowing Eriksen to float behind the front three of Jorgenson, Sisto and Poulsen. Kasper Dolberg and Andreas Cornelius offer useful options from the bench should the Danes need a late goal.
The Danish back four all play high-level soccer and this is perhaps their most balanced side since the 1998 team that reached the quarter-finals.
A nice group draw and a much-improved team has given Denmark a great chance to qualify for the round of sixteen. They will fancy themselves to overcome Peru and Australia to take second spot in this group and are the side best placed to take points from France.
They are available at 1.741* to qualify from this group and should represent value at those odds.
Elo World Ranking: 40
Pinnacle World Cup Power Ranking: 26
Previous best performance: Round of 16 (2006)
Top scorer in qualifying: Tim Cahill (11 goals)
Key player: Aaron Mooy
Odds to advance from group: 5.400*
Odds to win World Cup: 401.000*
Australia are among the tournament’s weakest sides and new manager Bert Van Marwijk has not had much time to settle on his best eleven.
The Aussies emerged with some credit in 2014 despite losing all three of their matches. They were given little hope after being drawn into the group of death with the European and South American champions.
Tim Cahill scored one of the goals of the tournament as they pushed the Netherlands close. The veteran forward will be in Russia but the now 38-year-old should be reduced to a bench role this time around.
As well as the impact of Cahill from the bench the Aussies can count on a dependable central midfield led by Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy. They comfortably handled Honduras in qualification and are reigning Asian champions, but this team is far below the level of their most successful World Cup side.
In 2006 the Aussies could call upon nine players from England’s Premier League as well as starters in La Liga and Serie A. This time around most of their players are drawn from outside the top four leagues with many playing in the weaker English lower divisions and their home A-League.
If France are as dominant in this group as expected then this group should see a three-way battle for second between the weaker sides. Achieving positive results over a solid but far from elite Danish team and a Peruvian squad entering their first tournament since 1982 is unlikely but not impossible for the Aussies.
Despite this the Australians are likely to need two shock results to qualify and it is hard to see them winning too many points. Backing Australia to return home with less than 2 points at 1.961* could prove to be a sensible bet considering the decline of Cahill and their overall lack of quality.
Elo World Ranking: 11
Pinnacle: World Cup Power Ranking: 14
Previous best performance: Quarter-finals (1970)
Top scorer in qualifying: Paolo Guerrero, Edison Flores (five goals)
Key player: Paolo Guerrero
Odds to advance from group: 3.060*
Odds to win World Cup: 212.510*
Peru were surprise qualifiers from South America, edging out South American champions Chile in the process.
A tight-knit group of players and a strong focus on the national team has caused an, on paper, fairly weak Peruvian side to perform better than the sum of its parts. Veterans Jefferson Farfan and Paolo Guerreiro (who returns from a drugs ban prior to the World Cup) will need to be at their best to carry a team inexperienced at the highest level.
Central midfielder Renato Tapia has his chance on the big stage and the Feyenoord man should attract some admiring glances from scouts. He offers a strong defensive presence whilst also providing composure in possession. His ability will be needed to protect a weak looking Peruvian defence which is untested outside of South America.
Truthfully, this Peru team would need to surprise one of the two European sides to qualify and this seems unlikely. Whilst a win against Australia is achievable, a victory that match in combination with taking points from France or Denmark seems unlikely.
With Paolo Guerrero back in the side and a superb run of results in the pre-tournament friendlies the Peruvians will challenge even if they may ultimately fall short in this group. They are certainly capable of scoring goals. With an inferior Australia in the group and the ability to breakdown even the strongest defences backing Peru to score over 3 goals at 1.662* could be a wise bet.
Next: World Cup Group D preview
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