Group C Preview: Australia, Denmark in dog-fight

Mazino Dickson

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The final matches for Group C of the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be decided on Tuesday.

Group leaders France take on Denmark in a match the latter must either avoid win or play out a draw.

Denmark struggled to beat Peru 1-0 in their first game two weeks ago before managing to hold Australia to a 1-1 draw last Thursday.

The Danish Dynamites will be missing Youssef Poulsen who is suspended for the game.

They will therefore depend on Christian Eriksen, who created the winner against Peru and scored the lone goal against the Australian Socceroos.

Eriksen is the main star in a side that plays direct football utilizing the 4-4-2 system.

Unlike the Danish squads of 1986 and 1998 respectively, the present generation lack the guile, finesse and unconventional style of years gone by.

French impetus

Fortunately, France have already qualified for the next round and might use this encounter to test fresh legs from the bench while resting the regulars.

So far the French have been unconvincing throughout, and were largely outplayed by a vibrant Peru side that were unlucky not to score.

Paul Pogba, Antoinne Griezman are not at their very best, and if fielded, might want to make a statement of intent.

Wild, wild Aussies must win

Australia have displayed a ‘swash-buckle’ attitude throughout this tournament despite not having players in the 2006 class of Mark Viduka and Harry Kewel.

Midfielders Mile Jedinak, Aaron Mooy and Tomi Rogic have been exemplary and succeeded in matching better players from France and Denmark.

Defenders Trent Sainsbury, and Mark Milligan have been a battling duo who have refused to back down from the fight.

The problem for the Aussies has been scoring goals – so far the two goals scored have been VAR-inspired and captain Jedinak put them in the back of the net.

We are yet to see veteran goal-machine Tim Cahill in this tournament; this might just be the time for coach Bert van Marwijk to give Australia’s top goal scorer the chance to deliver against the Peruvians.

This is surely Cahill’s swansong on the International stage and he would want to go out on a high.

Australia must beat Peru silly, and hope France do them a favour by beating Denmark.

Anything outside this scenario means the boys from down under must wait till 2022 to make an impact in the mundial.

Classy Football

Peru have wowed football neutrals with their brand of typical slick-passing latino football and their colourful fans.

Team captain Paolo Guerrero is yet to open his goal-scoring account, but he might just use this match to etch his name in Peruvian World Cup folklore by doing “a bulge of the onion bag.”

Jefferson Farfan is unlikely to play after suffering a horrific head injury during training on Monday.

With nothing to lose, Peru will adopt a gung-ho approach to give their fans something to cheer about.

It will be a clash of power, speed and set-piece knowledge against slick-passing, deft runs.

Anything can happen here.