World Cup 2018: A comprehensive look at Group C
Group C of the 2018 World Cup consists of 1998 winners France, and Denmark from Europe, Peru as part of the CONMEBOL contingent as Australia from the Oceania region. With France pretty much expected to lead the group, Peru and Denmark will battle it out on 16 June in the group's most important match.
The group is fairly straight-forward as France are one of the favorites for the tournament and will be expected to dominate all their games in the group stage. The other place will go to one of Peru or Denmark, as Peru are considered massive dark horses for this edition of the World Cup.
Most likely to go through to the RO16: France, Denmark/Peru. Sorry, Australia.
There is no need to introduce the French players as most of them play in Top teams in the top leagues of the world. After missing out on the Euro 2016 at home when they lost against Portugal in the final, this is France's chance to recapture their mojo as one of the elites.
France qualified as the winners of their European qualifiers, securing 23 points out of a possible 30. What will haunt them is the draws they secured against seemingly weak oppositions - Belarus and Luxembourg - on their way to the WC.
Coach: Didier Deschamps
Deschamps, pronounced the pretentious way, was part of France's title-winning team in 1998 and was handed the job in 2012. He did well with the team in the qualifiers and is quick to change systems when it doesn't work, but something about him doesn't scream World Cup-winning coach.
Some fans are of the opinion that his coaching is the weakest link of the team, alongside France being a team of talented individuals but not able to function as a team. But on a pure individual level, they have one of the best teams on paper.
Lloris will play every minute of every game as a keeper, as well as the captain of Les Blues. But his season with Tottenham was a little mixed, as Lloris conceded quite a few goals he should certainly be stopping.
But his distribution with the national team is much better than at Spurs, and he is still one of the best shot-stoppers in the world, and his leadership will be much needed at the WC.
League rivals Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti are the most likely CB pairing, although Rami got a look-in during the friendlies. Mendy's return to fitness means the Manchester City player is also definitely part of the starting XI with Monaco's Sidibe joining him as the other wing back.
In addition to this, France has several defenders who are more than capable back-ups in Hernandez, Kimpembe and Pavard.
France switch most often between a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3 and unfortunately, are yet to figure out what their best formation is. A lot of it revolves around Paul Pogba. After a few okay-ish performances, most fans (almost 75%) want him gone, but whether Deschamps will go through with it remains uncertain.
Kante is assured of a place in the team as their DM, but Paul Pogba thrives better in a three-man midfield. This means that Matuidi has to be accommodated into the team as a midfielder. This leaves three spots - for Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe, Lemar, and Fekir.
Griezmann and Mbappe will certainly not be dropped, and Dembele's performances in the friendlies can't be ignored as well. Lemar is an absolute beast for the National team and Fekir had a monster season at Lyon.
What we have is a good old-fashioned problem of plenty. If France go on to have an underwhelming season, this will be their main issue. Their depth is too good to reach a balance, and the resulting confusion might blow their chances during the WC.
Not to forget that Coman, Lacazette, Rabiot, and Martial did not even make the squad. I think it might be time to just hand the 2022 WC to France.
Player to watch out for: Antoine Griezmann
The Atletico Madrid player has been rapidly and constantly getting better over the last few years and is in the form of his life just in time for the WC. We have seen Griezmann tear teams up when playing for a mostly defensive team.
With all the quality around him this time and in a team that likes scoring goals, Griezmann should take his game even further. As a side note, also do not forget Kylian Mbappe. Maybe Neymar might leave PSG to leave Mbappe's shadow after the WC.