Home Sport World Champions France favourites to finish top of Group D

World Champions France favourites to finish top of Group D

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The World Cup starts in 10 days’ time, and this week Independent Media continues with the breakdown of each group, and the contenders most likely to progress to the knockout stages. Today, Smiso Msomi takes a look at Group D.

Kylian Mbappe (4th from left) of France celebrates with teammates after scoring the 1-0 goal in the UEFA Nations League match against Austria in Saint-Denis, France, 22 September 2022. Picture: EPA, Christope Petit Tesson

Durban – The World Cup starts in 10 days’ time, and this week Independent Media continues with the breakdown of each group, and the contenders most likely to progress to the knockout stages.

Today, Smiso Msomi takes a look at Group D.

FRANCE (Ranked 4th)

Les Bleus are one of the favourites heading to Qatar as an opportunity to make history beckons.

The French national team will look to join an illustrious list that includes Brazil and Italy, the only two nations to have successfully defended a world cup title.

The defending champions have had a few setbacks approaching the world cup with integral figures like Paul Pogba, Ngolo Kante and Raphael Varane being ruled out of the tournament through injury.

However, that should not fool anyone as France are untouchable in terms of squad depth with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele and Olivier Giroud in their ranks. They will be favourites to qualify top of the group.

AUSTRALIA (38th)

The Socceroos took the hardest route to the next edition of the World Cup as they required a play-off match against Peru, which they edged through on penalties.

The Australian national team are heading for their sixth participation in the grand spectacle having qualified for the 1974, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022 editions, with national team great Tim Cahill scoring one of the best goals in world cup history.

Coach Graham Arnold’s squad is predominantly made up of home-based talent and will need the expertise of star man Denis Genreau who plies his trade in Ligue 1 for Toulouse.

DENMARK (10th)

The Danish, boosted by the return of star player Christian Eriksen, will look to build on their miraculous run in the last edition of the European Championship.

Denmark drove themselves to Wembley in spite of the obstacles placed in their way after losing Eriksen through a cardiac arrest.

Their run was inexplicably ended by hosts England at the semi-final stage, an indication of the kind of threat they’re bringing to France.

Having already beaten France twice in the last six months in the Uefa Nations League, coach Kasper Kjulmand will walk into the spectacle in Qatar with a bounce in his step as he looks to upset the odds once more.

TUNISIA (30th)

The Carthage Eagles are among the few African teams that have kept up their world cup participation as they look to engineer a way past the group stages at the sixth time of asking.

The Tunisia national team coach Jalel Kadri has been very vocal about his and his team’s ambitions to make history and qualify for the knockout stages, and will look to the likes of Youssef Msakni and Wahbi Khazri to help his side achieve that.

The North African nation will, however, require a much improved performance to their last major tournament as they sneaked through the group stages at Afcon 2022, only to be knocked out by Burkina Faso in the quarter-finals.

@SmisoScribe

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