The 2018 World Cup kicks off in just over six months’ time, but which side will emerge from the pack to lift the famous trophy in Russia? With 32 teams slogging it out for supremacy, Marathonbet takes a closer look at each World Cup finals group in a bid to whittle down the contenders.
Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
France find themselves in a favourable group alongside three teams they really should have no problems beating. Les Bleus can count themselves lucky once more after being on the receiving end of a similarly preferable draw in 2014. Manager Didier Deschamps won the trophy when captaining France in 1998 and now bids to do the double as boss of one the tournament favourites. They secured qualification by topping their group ahead of Sweden and now continue their run of having appeared at every World Cup tournament since 1994. Their key clash will come against Denmark but with the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe in the ranks, France should have little problem topping this group.
The Danes meanwhile know the French well and are only ranked three places (12) behind their group rivals. They were beaten 2-1 by France in the group stages of 1998 but emerged victorious in 2002. Coach Age Hareide is a former Norway international defender and for that reason, you’d be forgiven for thinking Denmark have a defensive style of play. The fact is, in recent months, they’ve proven emphatic in front of goal including a 5-1 thumping of the Republic of Ireland in the World Cup qualification play-offs, a 4-1 win away at Armenia and a 4-0 thrashing of Poland.
Elsewhere in the group, odds suggest Peru will most likely be fighting Australia for the third-place spot. They’ve only ever made four appearances at the World Cup finals and their last was way back in 1982. Their best finish was the quarter-finals in 1970 and 1978. Experienced forward Jefferson Farfan proved integral to his country’s South American qualifying campaign. For those who fancy a World Cup wager outside the familiar markets, consider backing Farfan, who plays for Russia’s Lokomotiv Moscow, to score any time during Peru’s group games. At 33-years-old Farfan is no spring chicken but with knowledge and expertise of Russia, its climate and atmosphere, he won’t be out of his depth.
Whether Farfan will have enough in the locker to sink the likes of Australia remains to be seen. The Socceroos had two play-off rounds to negotiate to ensure World Cup qualification. A play-off win against Honduras, which included a hat-trick from Aston Villa midfielder Miles Jedinak, finally sealed their qualification. Previously, a textbook Tim Cahill header fired the Aussies through in extra-time of their second-leg clash against Syria but in truth that performance did not leave the best impression ahead of the World Cup proper. Cahill netted 11 goals on the road to Russia and will need to be in equally-as-fine form if Australia are to notch their best ever World Cup finish and progress past the round of 16.
Group C top stat:
Tim Cahill would join an illustrious club alongside only Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose if he scores at Russia 2018. All those players have found the back of the net in at least three tournaments. Klose has scored in four.
Marathonbet odds for winning the group: France (2/7) Denmark (39/10) Peru (15/1) Australia (18/1). Check out the full Group C betting markets here.
When and where can I watch Group C games? And what TV channels are they on?
June 16: France v Australia (11am, Kazan, BBC)
June 16: Peru v Denmark (5pm, Saransk, BBC)
June 21: Denmark v Australia (1pm, Samara, ITV)
June 21: France v Peru (4pm, Ekaterinburg, ITV)
June 26: Denmark v France (3pm, Moscow, ITV)
June 26: Australia v Peru (3pm, Sochi, ITV)