The 2018 World Cup starts on June 14. The World Cup, not the Olympics, is the most important international sports event in the world. This blog is all about the teams in Group C: France, Denmark, Peru, and Australia.
The French are favored to dominate while Denmark is a solid second choice to win the Group. Will France march into the Round of 16 with a Group C victory? Can Denmark challenge for the top spot? How will Peru fare without any real stars? Does Australia have any shot of punching their ticket to the Round of 16?
Keep reading for my preview of the 2018 World Cup Group C!
2018 World Cup: Group C Preview
Head coach Didier Deschamps won the World Cup in 1998. Deschamps was part of a team that featured the great Zinedine Zidane and unstoppable forward Thierry Henry. Deschamps led Les Bleus to the quarter-finals at the last World Cup in Brazil.
France lost to Portugal in the 2016 UEFA Euro Final. That had to smart because the 2016 UEFA Euro took place in France. Deschamps heads to Russia with one of the deepest, most talented teams in the World Cup. If France doesn’t make it to the semifinals, their fans will have no choice but to deem it a failure.
Denmark hasn’t played in a major tournament since 2012. No matter. The Danish are one of the top rising star nations in soccer. Since losses to Poland and Montenegro in 2016, the Danes have won 11 straight international matches. The reason? One of the top players in the world, Christian Eriksen, plays for Denmark.
Also, the Danish have a great defense led by captain Simon Kjaer. Kjaer, and Andreas Bjelland, will ensure that Denmark’s defense holds up to snuff. Can the offense help Eriksen, or will he be a one man show?
Chile, Ecuador, and Paraguay were supposed to garner a spot in the World Cup ahead of Peru. It didn’t work out for those squads because the Peruvians out played all of those teams. Peru isn’t loaded. There isn’t a single star on their side. Even their best player, Paola Guerrero, most likely won’t play in the World Cup due to a doping suspension.
Peru does have something going for it. Their head coach, 59-year-old Ricardo Gareca, finally has Peru playing the way he always envisioned they would play. The Peruvians have bought into Gareca’s style. That means Peru offers a solid longshot’s price of 9 to 1 to upset both Denmark and France for the Group C title.
The Australians qualified for a fourth consecutive World Cup. They took a somewhat circuitous route to do it because they had an inferior goal difference to Saudi Arabia. The Australians were the second to last team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. That makes them a huge underdog to win Group C.
What Makes France Such a Huge Favorite to Win Group C?
France is a huge, massive, favorite to win Group C because they’re easily the most talented team in the Group. For some reason, the French got a pass while the groups were being set. Perhaps, those in charge felt bad after France bombed versus Portugal at the 2016 UEFA Euro Championships. France not only lost to Portugal, they lost to Portugal without the great Ronaldo on the pitch. Oh, yes, the French also dropped the final in France.
Ouch. Can the French make it up in the 2018 World Cup? Based on talent, it’s difficult to find a better squad. The French have one of the absolute top striking teams in the world. Deschamps should use that to his advantage by playing a 4-2-3-1.
At the top will be Antoinne Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe, and Ousmane Dembele. Mbappe should be the key. Griezmann and Giroud are fantastic, but Mbappe scored 13 goals in 28 matches for Paris St. Germain this season. He should find himself open because defenses must mark both Griezmann and Giroud.
If France’s offense comes together, it won’t matter how their defense fares. Deschamps goal is to overwhelm Les Blues’ opponents in Group C. It should work with hardly any issues.
Does Denmark Have Any Shot of Upsetting France?
Denmark has a shot to upset France and win Group C if Christian Eriksen takes over each match. Eriksen has quickly become one of the top players into the 2018 World Cup. He scored a fantastic 11 goals in 12 World Cup Qualifying matches played. That’s impressive.
The midfielder will have a chance to control the flow of matches. If he’s able to maintain control until Denmark’s Group C opponents, mainly France, makes a mistake on defense, who knows? Simon Kjaer and Andrewas Bjelland will ensure the defense plays well.
But, unless Eriksen is patient and strikes at the exact opportune time, it will be difficult for Denmark to get past France and win the Group. Eriksen is pretty much the only player that Denmark has on their squad who can score or dish the ball. Without Eriksen playing above his usual level (and that level’s high already!), the best Denmark can do is move on to the Round of 16 and yield the Group to the star studded French.
Can Peru Make it to the Round of 16?
The most interesting thing about Peru is that their coach, Ricardo Gareca, ended Peru’s shot at qualifying for the 1986 World Cup by scoring the winning goal for his native Argentina. Since 2015, Gareca’s been living that down.
He doesn’t have to live it down anymore. Peru secured a spot in the 2018 World Cup via a strong defense and patient offense. The Peruvians allowed a total of 7 goals in 8 matches to stamp their ticket to Russia. That type of defense worked to get to the World Cup.
It’s difficult to see that type of defense working to upset either Denmark or France for the Group C victory. Then again, Peru has nothing to lose. The Peruvians head to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years. That’s a long drought. It’s been so long that the Peru figures to be one of the loosest teams in this year’s World Cup.
Granted, things would be much simpler if their top player, Paolo Guerrero, were to play. Even without Guerrero, Peru is good enough to upset Denmark. Yes. I just wrote that.
Is Australia Worth a Look to Win Group C at the Huge Odds?
Not really. Although it’s great that the Australians qualified for the World Cup (while better teams like the United States failed), the Australian side has way too many holes to contend against Denmark, France, and even Peru.
Australia doesn’t have a head coach as far as I know. Their previous coach quit right after the Aussies secured their World Cup berth. They also don’t have a single player of note. Australia should probably be over a 20 to 1 shot to win Group C.
World Cup Group C Predictions
France appears impossible to beat. Their odds, -350, aren’t fair. -450 might be fair. That’s how much better France is then the rest of the teams in Group C. The Danes could upset France, but only if two things happen. First, France must care about winning the World Cup. If France decides to party the night away before games, they’ll lose. Second, Christian Eriksen must dominate in every way imaginable. Since neither of those things happening is likely, France should have no trouble winning Group C. Here are my Group C predictions:
Second Place: Denmark