France celebrates as they beat Italy 3-1 in a friendly on June 1, 2018 at the Allianz Riviera in Nice, France (via @equipedefrance/Twitter)

France celebrates as they beat Italy 3-1 in a friendly on June 1, 2018 at the Allianz Riviera in Nice, France (via @equipedefrance/Twitter)

FIFA World Cup preview: France, Denmark poised to push through Group C

Young, star-studded French team have high hopes for World Cup

The 2018 FIFA World Cup begins on Thursday, June 14. Leading up to the tourney, we’ll offer our previews and predictions for each of the eight groups. Today, a look at Group C:

France:

FIFA rank (as of June 9, 2018): 7

Best player: Antoine Griezmann (Athletico Madrid)

Griezmann will be France’s starting striker and had a respectable 19 goals and nine assists in La Liga this season.

One to watch: Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

In 2017, PSG made Mbappe the world’s second-most expensive player when he was signed from Monaco on loan for 145 million Euros. There’s a reason he’s worth this much, just watch.

Outlook:

France is a powerhouse with a great deal of depth including midfielders like Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante. They are a young squad and are more than capable of capturing a World Cup this year.

READ MORE: Uruguay expected to stomp through Group A

READ MORE: Portugal and Spaib set to cruise through Group B

Australia

FIFA rank: 36

Best player: Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa)

The torch has been passed from Tim Cahill to Jedinak. Cahill is aging, and Jedinak has demonstrated he can produce, scoring 18 times in 75 matches for Australia.

One to watch: Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town)

Mooy will partner Jedinak at the back end of the midfield. He had a successful first season in the English Premier League this year for Huddersfield.

Outlook:

Australia is in a tough group where a single loss will likely ruin their chances of moving through the group stage.

Peru

FIFA rank: 11

Best player: Christian Cueva (Sao Paulo)

After star striker Paolo Guerrero was suspended for the upcoming World Cup for doping, Cueva could take the reins as Peru’s top player. He is a creative attacking midfielder for top Brazilian side, Sao Paulo.

One to watch: Jefferson Farfan (Lokomotiv Moscow)

Farfan scored 10 goals and five assists in the Russian Premier League this season. He combines speed and strength to power through defences.

Outlook:

Peru has a strong side and the ability to beat Australia and Denmark but without Guerrero it will prove to be more of a challenge.

Denmark

FIFA rank: 12

Best player: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur)

Hands down Denmark’s best player, Eriksen is a regular for the Spurs and recorded eight goals during Denmark’s World Cup qualification.

One to watch: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City)

The son of Manchester United legend, Peter Schmeichel, Kasper won a Premier League title with the underdogs Leicester in 2016.

Outlook:

Denmark has a chance to make it through the group stage but their journey will most certainly reside with their match against Peru. They have a strong side with most of their roster competing in Europe’s top leagues.

Group Winner: France. They will go unbeaten in this group. Any other result will be a shock.

Group Runner-Up: Denmark. The Danes are far more talented than Peru, along with a better goalie and better star player.


@kieranroconnor
kieran.oconnor@bpdigital.ca

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