World Cup 2018 Preview – Group C
Due to the number of teams from European countries entering the 2018 World Cup, it is impossible to split them all into different groups.
Therefore, some of the groups will contain more than one team from the UEFA confederation and this is the case with Group C.
This group contains France, Australia, Peru and Denmark and while the French are considered big favourites to top the group, could there be all to play for below them?
The French ended the 2016 European Championships in disappointment as they lost on home soil to Portugal in the final.
You must go back to 2000 to find the last time the French won a major tournament and they have been below their best in the past two World Cup tournaments. However, there is no doubting the talent in the France squad and expectations will be high.
If Les Bleus cut out the lapses in concentration, they can go all the way at the 2018 World Cup.
Manager: Didier Deschamps has done well in his time as manager of France but is still to deliver a trophy. This could be his last chance.
Key Player: The French have so many great players it is tough to select one but the performance of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris could be the difference between France being eliminated in the knockout stages or winning the tournament.
Australia recorded the first World Cup victory in their history back in 2006 and have since qualified for two World Cup finals but have never progressed beyond the group stage.
The Socceroo’s did well to come through a long and difficult qualifying campaign, featuring playoffs against Syria and Honduras.
Ange Postecoglou quit as manager of Australia just after they clinched their place in Russia and this has not helped their preparation.
Manager: Bert van Marwijk has been appointed the manager of Australia for the 2018 World Cup. The Dutchman left his job as Saudi Arabia manager having led them to the World Cup.
Key Player: There will be much focus on Tim Cahill but the midfield presence of Mile Jedinak will be huge for Australia and the Aston Villa man needs to play well to give his team a chance of progressing from the group. But also keep an eye on Huddersfield City midfielder Aaron Mooy.
Peru were ranked 50th in the world when World Cup qualifying began but beat the odds to qualify from South America.
You must go back to 1982 to find the last time Peru participated in the World Cup, so this is an historic occasion for La Blanquirroja. They finished 5th in qualifying, above Chile and defeated Oceania champions New Zealand in a playoff to reach Russia.
Peru are the weakest of the five representatives from South America and will do well to qualify from Group C.
Manager: Ricardo Gareca has done very well in his three years at the helm of Peruvian football and simply qualifying for the 2018 World Cup makes him a success.
Key Player: Experienced forward, Jefferson Farfan, currently plays his club football in Russia and he will help his players settle in during the tournament.
Denmark were handed a tough qualifying group with Poland, Romania and Montenegro and some good late results saw them make the playoffs, where they defeated Republic of Ireland over two legs.
The Danes do not have a great record at the World Cup and have only gone beyond the group stage once in their history. They will feel this group gives them the opportunity to change that record for the better.
Manager: Age Hareide has never managed outside of Scandinavia and the Norwegian previously coached his native country for five years without ever qualifying for a major tournament.
Key player: Christian Eriksen is enjoying another great season for Tottenham Hotspur and his creativity in the Danish midfield will be vital in breaking down opposition defences.