2022 World Cup: Group D
The 2018 World Cup winners are looking to repeat. Since winning the 2018 World Cup, France had a lackluster performance in the European Championship 2020 in 2021 (delay because of Covid) and a win in the Nations League, defeating Spain in the final. France’s recent form has been poor, recording only one win in the last 6 games, beating Austria(34th) 2-0. France has lost to Denmark (10th) twice and Croatia(12th) once. They have drawn the other games with Croatia(12th) and Austria(34th).
France’s Strength is the level of talent and depth of that talent. Forwards like Ousmane Dembele, Anthony Martial, Kingsley Coman, Karim Benzema, Antonie Griezmannm, and Kylian Mbappe. All play for some of the best teams in the world, with most being starters. The midfield contains Paul Pogba, Adrien Rabiot, and Eduardo Camavinga, most starters (Pogba is currently injured and hasn’t played this season) for their respective teams. The defense supports such talents as Raphael Varane(who may be ready for the tournament/coming off injury), Dayot Upamecanom, Lucas Hernandez, and Presnel Kimpembe. All starters for some of the best teams in the world.
France’s Weakness is its goalkeepers. Father time is catching up with Captian Hugo Lloris at 35. He has noticeably lost a step in the strongest aspect of his game, his reflexes. Costing vital errors that led to goals against his club. Lloris will have to solve what is causing the errors or be replaced.
Player to Watch: Aurelien Tchouameni
The 22-year-old has impressed at both club and international levels for both his mental and physical game. Noted for his maturity as a player on the pitch. His mental strength is accompanied by his defensive abilities and his passing ability. Making 2.70 interceptions per 90 minutes, putting him in the top 1% of all midfielders. He also makes an outstanding 5.74 progressive passes(passes that move the ball forward at least 10 years)per 90 minutes, putting him in the top 5% of midfielders. Aurelien is looking like the future of the French midfield.
Australia does not have the best record in the competition, making it out only once from the group stage. In the last two World Cups, Australia finished 30th out of 32 nations. Australia’s recent continental tournaments have not been well. They lost in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Asian Cup to the United Arab Emirates(70th). Australia’s recent form has been good, beating New Zealand (105th) twice. A victory over Peru (22nd) and the UAE (70th) in World Cup Qualification. Two of their losses came to two other World Cup teams that qualified over Australia in the World Cup group qualifiers, losing to Japan(24th) and Saudi Arabia(51st).
Australia’s Strength is its midfield. The likes of Denis Genreau are playing regularly in the top French League (Ligue 1). Connor Metcalfe and Riley McGree are both playing on teams knocking on the door of the best leagues in the world. They are all young and have plenty more development.
Australia’s Weakness is that they do not have a star player. France is lined up with stars, and Denmark is loaded with talented players. Tunisia has numerous players playing regularly in the top leagues in the world. Australia does not have that quality of talent.
Players to Watch: Jackson Irvine
The 29-year-old is the workhorse of the midfield at FC St.Pauli. His strength is his versatility in the midfield. Irvine displays a hard-tackling style and a high-energy counter, which sees him contribute to the attack.
Denmark’s national team is experiencing a revolution of talent. Denmark failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Russia and followed up that failure by failing to qualify for the European Championship in 2016. Denmark turned it around in 2018, qualifying for the World Cup in Russia. They made it out of their group and into the round of 16. Denmark lost to the cinderella story of the 2018 World Cup, Croatia. Denmark followed this performance with a good 2020 European Championship. They finished 4th in the tournament that they failed to qualify for in 2016. This tournament was shrouded in sadness for Denmark. Team captain Christian Eriksen, suffered a heart attack during the first game of the group stage. Denmark would then beat Finland after the game restarted hours later. However, the worry subsided in the final group stage match. The tournament did not matter anymore. As Christian Eriksen met with the team before heading home. Eriksen’s story gets better. Eriksen made a full recovery and continued playing after having a pacemaker installed. Eriksen returned to the national team against the Netherlands, scoring in the first 2 minutes of being on the pitch. The recent form for Denmark has been good, only losing to Croatia (12th) and the Netherlands (8th). The Danish defeated France(4th) twice, Austria(34th) twice, and Serbia (21st) once.
Denmark’s Strength of this team is its spirit and talent. The tragic events during the European Championship brought the team closer. On top of that, Eriksen is back with the team. They are a team and a family. Denmark is on the same page with each other. They are top players in the world in the starting 11.
Denmark’s Weakness of this team is they do not have as much depth as the other top teams. The starting 11 of Denmark can be a World Cup winner. The question remains on if the rest of the squad can match that same level.
Player to Watch: Christian Eriksen
The 30-year-old is the heart and the soul of the team. Before his heart attack, he was among the best creative attacking midfielders in the world. Renowned for his passing abilities and his leadership on the pitch. This is his first major tournament since, and it will likely be his last, considering his health and age.
Tunisia is the third team out of Africa. Tunisia made it to the 2018 World Cup. They missed out on the last two tournaments. Their recent resurgence is seen with the African Cup of Nations. Placing 4th in 2019, the highest finish since winning it in 2004, following up that performance with a quarter-finals finish in 2021. They qualified for African Nations Championship in 2020 but withdrew due to match congestion. They finished 2nd in the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup, losing to Algeria. The recent form for Tunisia has been good. A loss to Brazil(3rd) of 5-1 is the worst and most recent loss. They came up short against Burkina Faso(54th), Gambia(126th), and Mali(46th) losing all of those games 0-1. They have thoroughly defeated Japan(24th) 3-0, Mali(46th) 1-0, Chile(17th)2-0, and Nigeria(32nd) 1-0.
Tunisia’s Strength of this team is its style of play. Tunisia is strong in the back, with Dylan Bronn leading it. A style that hits back on the counter, using their strength to prevent goals and kickstart their attacks.
Tunisia’s Weakness is they are not the most talented team. Few players are playing in the top leagues. Players need to play against the best to develop.
Player to Watch: Dylan Bronn
The 27-year-old has been amazing for Salernitana in Serie A this year. A centre-back who is a phenomenal tackler. Comparable to the top centre-backs in Europe. He is also strong on the attack. Not typical for a centre-back. However, this is perfect for Tunisia’s play style.
- France 1st
- Denmark 2nd
- Tunisia 3rd
- Australia 4th
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