World Cup Preview | Group D | France aiming to retain their crown after 2018 triumph

The 2022 World Cup kicks off this Sunday with Qatar and Ecuador getting the tournament underway.

For the first time in history, the FIFA World Cup will take place midseason in relation to Europe’s top five Leagues with 32 teams setting their sights on Qatar.

The nature of timing ensures a number of players will miss out while the Republic Of Ireland also failed to qualify.

But with the World Cup approaching, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the nations taking place, group by group.

Yesterday we had Group A & Group B.

Earlier we had group C but now we look ahead to Group D, which contains France, Australia, Denmark and Tunisia.


Manager – Didier Deschamps

Best WC Finish – Winners (1998, 2018)

2018 WC Finish – Winners

FIFA World Rankings – 4th

Tournament Odds – 6/1

The reigning champions of the world will have 31 teams fighting for their crown come Sunday but they will be adamant to hold on to what’s theirs.

A fantastic campaign in 2018 resulted in Les Bleus lifting the World Cup trophy in Moscow, following their 4-2 victory over Croatia. An own goal from Mario Mandzukic was added by an Antoine Griezmann penalty as well as goals from Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba to seal a historic victory for Deschamps side.

Only a fraction of the World Cup winning squad from 2018 have been named to travel to Qatar with an influx of young players instead taking their place. Most notably, the Real Madrid midfield duo of Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni who may be handed starts during the campaign due to injuries for N’golo Kante and Pogba, both started the 2018 final.

The impressive form of William Saliba, Jules Kounde, Christian Nkunku and Ibrahima Konate to name a few has also been rewarded with places in the squad for the young players. Regulars such as Mbappe, who is still only 23, Raphael Varane and Hugo Lloris maintain their spots while Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema will compete at his first World Cup since 2010.

Although a new look side, the quality remains in the French National Team, as it does almost every year as they bid to become the third nation to retain the World Cup.


Manager – Graham Arnold

Best WC Finish – Last 16 (2006)

2018 WC Finish – Group Stages

FIFA World Rankings – 38th

Tournament Odds – 500/1

It’s a fifth consecutive World Cup for Australia with the Socceroos entering the competition with a chip on their shoulder this year as massive underdogs.

Priced at 500/1, Graham Arnold’s team have been handed no chance to progress in the tournament this year which may be down to their qualification campaign with the side finishing third in their group and clinching a spot in the tournament via a penalty shootout win against Peru in the final.

Their 2018 campaign was similar to their two previous as they failed to make it out of their group. A draw against Denmark in Matchday 2 was the only points they picked up despite nearly getting the better of France in the opening round, with both sides being placed in the same group yet again.

The 26-man squad consists of players playing all over the world including Celtic’s Aaron Mooy, Copenhagen’s Maty Ryan and Mathew Leckie who spent a chunk of his playing career in Germany.

Being placed in a group with the World Champions and European semi-finalists Denmark is no easy feat but the Aussies will be hoping to see their team make the knockout stages for the first time in 16 years.


Manager – Kasper Hjulmand

Best WC Finish – Quarter-Final (1998)

2018 WC Finish – Last 16

FIFA World Rankings – 10th

Tournament Odds – 22/1

In recent years, Denmark have gone from strength to strength with people around the world continuing to underestimate their ability.

A penalty shootout against eventual runners-up Croatia in 2018 prevented the side from matching their best World Cup finish in history as they crashed out in the last 16 in their first appearance at the tournament since 2010.

However, with an impressive Euro 2020 campaign under their belt where they were beaten by England in the semi-final, the Danes won’t be lacking in confidence and certainly not in quality either. Christian Eriksen will return in midfield following his miraculous recovery. Captain Simon Kjaer returns to the squad following a lengthy lay-off while talent from Europe’s top leagues dominates the rest of the squad.

A final round loss to Scotland was the only blot on their qualifying record as they were victorious in their previous nine games, scoring 30 goals and only conceding three.

If Hjulmand’s side can continue their rich run of form, this Denmark side can easily trump the achievements of the Laudrup brothers and co. in 1998.


Manager – Jalel Kadri

Best WC Finish – Group Stage (Five years)

2018 WC Finish – Group Stage

FIFA World Rankings – 30th

Tournament Odds – 500/1

The second team in the group to be priced at 500/1, Tunisia will be hoping for an unlikely first appearance in the knockout stages at the sixth time of asking.

Failing to make it out of their group in every World Cup appearance ahead of 2018, the side were placed in a group containing England and Belgium and were close to upsetting the odds. A last-gasp Harry Kane goal in the opening round prevented a draw against England while Belgium handed them a 5-2 defeat. A final day win against Panama was a mere consolation but a proud moment nonetheless, but Tunisia would’ve finished level on points with the Three Lions had they not conceded at the death in MD 1.

A 1-0 victory against Mali over two legs handed them qualification to the World Cup as they progressed from their group with four wins from their six games.

A large proportion of their squad remain from their journey in 2018, with Wahbi Khazri being the most recognizable name on the team-sheet from his stint in the Premier League. On-loan Manchester United youth product Hannibal Mejbri has also been named as they face the tough task of escaping Group D.

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