The World Cup is on the horizon, and Group C could offer an exciting battle for qualification – with both Peru and Denmark likely to be tussling for second spot.
France are many people’s tips for tournament glory, whilst Australia will be looking to upset the odds in Russia.
We’ve got the lowdown on the four sides who’ll be facing off in Group C, kicking off with Les Bleus…
FIFA Ranking: 7
Manager: Didier Deschamps
Qualification: Les Bleus breezed to top spot in their qualifying group, seeing off closest challengers Sweden by four points.
Star Player: Antoine Griezmann
How far will they go? It’s hard to see past France winning Group C, and doing so would likely set up a winnable last 16 tie with Croatia. They should reach the semi-finals, but probably lack the cutting edge to win the tournament.
Fun fact: Current boss Deschamps captained Les Bleus to World Cup glory on home soil in 1998.
FIFA Ranking: 40
Manager: Bert van Marwijk
Qualification: Australia squeezed through the AFC’s third qualifying round, before a tense play-off against Syria ended in an extra-time triumph in Sydney.
Star Player: Aaron Mooy
How far will they go? Making it out of this group would be a major feat for the Socceroos. The main goal here will be picking up a few points and retaining pride.
Fun fact: The Socceroos have one of the most far-flung squads at the competition, with players plying their trade at clubs in 11 different countries.
FIFA Ranking: 11
Manager: Ricardo Gareca
Qualification: Peru finished fifth in CONMEBOL qualification, securing a play-off against Oceania’s top side, New Zealand. A 0-0 draw was followed by a 2-0 victory in Lima.
Star Player: Paulo Guerrero
How far will they go? They’ll do well to take second place in a tough group, but it’s far from impossible. Anything beyond last 16 would see Los Incas punching above their weight.
Fun fact: Peru were the first ever side to win Copa America with a non-South American manager, back in 1939. Their boss was Englishman Jack Greenwell, a former Barcelona player.
FIFA Ranking: 12
Manager: Age Hareide
Qualification: The Danes finished second in their group, before a thumping 5-1 aggregate win in a play-off with Republic of Ireland.
Star Player: Christian Eriksen
How far will they go? Logic suggests they’ll finish second in Group C behind France. A Last 16 or quarter-final exit looks likely.
Fun fact: Denmark’s one major trophy came at Euro ’92 – a tournament they didn’t even qualify for! Yugoslavia dropped out, and were replaced by the Danes, who beat Germany in the final.
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