The Danish national team will be looking to improve off their worst World Cup performance in 2010, and after failing to qualify in 2014. Denmark was able to win 1 game in 2010, losing their remaining two matches. We refer to this as their worse performance in the competition, as in Denmarks 4 World Cup appearances, 2010 was the only time they failed to make it out of the group stages. The Danish squad, qualified for Russia 2018 with a 7-3-2 record, while holding a +16 goal differential.
Åge Hareide, the Norwegian national, has the Red and White supporters holding high expectations after guiding them to the 12th position in the FIFA rankings for the last year. This is Denmarks highest ranking since being 11th in 2011. He has been in command of the team since 2015, replacing Morten Olsen, the longest-tenured Boss in the countries history from 2000-2015.
Denmark carries a great amount of momentum into the World Cup, led by Christian Eriksen, this group is on an 11 match streak since tasting defeat. Their last loss dates back to 2016, getting into the round of 16 is almost expected. Ericksen will be asked to direct Denmark as he has during the qualifiers netting 11 of Denmarks 20 goals. Another experienced player that called upon, will be 30 year old Nicklas Bendtner, who is 7th on Denmark’s all-time scorers’ list with 30 goals in 81 appearances.
The “Socceroos,” had to find their path to Russia 2018 through a playoff round after failing to get automatic qualification finishing behind Japan and Saudi Arabia. The Australians would go on to qualify off the heroics of Captain Mile Jedinak, netting a hat-trick in the return leg of the playoff vs Honduras.
Commanding the Socceroos, no other than country ace Tim Cahill, who is second all-time with 105 caps with the national team. The prolific striker will need to guide Australia out of the first round, if he wants to catch Mark Schwarzer’s 109 caps, first of all-time. Cahill however, is Australia’s highest goalscorer, with 50 goals since his first appearance on the international level in March 2004.
FIFA has the Aussies ranked 40th in the World, for the AFC representers to make it to the round of 16, they will need to pull off upsets vs Peru and Denmark if they want to advance out of the group.
1982, was the last time the South Americans tasted this tournament, and Argentine manager Ricardo Gareca has the country believing something special can happen this summer.
Optimism was at an all-time high until the news of Paolo Guerrero’s Suspension being pushed to 14 months, putting the strikers World Cup hopes in doubt. Guerrero has made numerous attempts to get the suspension overturned and has been denied up to date. The Peruvian forward is serving a 14-month ban for testing positive for benzoylecgonine. Players like 33-year-old Jefferson Farfán will be asked to step up in Peru’s leading scorers’ absence.
Ricardo Alberto Gareca has been in charge of the national team since 2015 and has the team on a 9-0-4 current run leading up to Russia. Peru hasn’t tasted defeat since October 2016, when they lost to Chile a visitors. Peru qualified through the playoff match but this team will be prepared after surviving a tough CONMEBOL qualification, that asked for plenty of results down the stretch showing this team can play under pressure.
Les Bleus, come into this match as a fan favorite with tremendous talent at every level. One of the teams with the highest ceilings, France arrives in Russia with a surplus of young talent led by Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann. The attack of the Frenchman is not what is in doubt, it is the backline and it’s recent struggles. The loss of Laurent Koscielny serves as a big blow for a defense that has big names but hasn’t found a way to mesh as a unit.
In the attack, you find Griezmann and Olivier Giroud, as the Chelsea man will be called upon to score as he has during Didier Deschamps reign.
20 years after Manager Didier Deschamps led France to a World Cup title on home soil, he will try and be only the third manager to hoist the trophy as a player and a boss. To do so he will need to figure out the right combination of all the weapons he has at his disposal. The runners-up in the Euro 2016 tournament, will look to make a deep run once again, but look for their matches to involve a lot of scoring and open spaces.