FIFA World Cup 2018™: 'Group C' Tactical Preview

FIFA World Cup 2018™: 'Group C' Tactical Preview
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    Australia
    The Socceroos qualified for their fifth World Cup, and fourth in a row, via a play-off win
    against Syria, having come third in the AFC third round. Thirty-eight year old Tim Cahill,
    who could be the country's greatest ever player, scored 1o goals in AFC qualifying.
    Australia are managed by Bert van Marwijk, who took the Netherlands to the World Cup
    final in 2010, assisted by Mark van Bommel. It won't be a surprise, then, to learn that
    Australia are well organised and physically assertive.
    Van Marwijk's side tend to play a 4-2-3-1 that can look like a 4-5-1 against stronger
    sides. The midfield pivot will be captain and expert penalty-taker Mile Jedinak, playing
    alongside the creative Aaron Mooy or Massimo Luongo. Jedinak gets through a lot of work,
    covering across behind the wide right player, usually Hertha Berlin's Mathew Leckie. Ahead,
    Tom Rogic plays behind a lone striker, either Robbie Kruse or Tomi Juric.
    [PIC 1 and 2]
    Australia transition from their 4-4-1-1 in defence to a wide 4-2-3-1 in attack – the
    full backs push up and Rogic peels off behind the striker to get into the box unmarked.
    Mooy's job is to get the ball quickly into the wide spaces, either for the full backs
    to play up the line, or directly to the wingers.
    [PIC 3 and 4]
    Australia lack a consistent goal scorer, so much will be needed from Tom Rogic's bursts
    from midfield. The defence also looks inexperienced and Trent Sainsbury aside, lacks real ability,
    though Mat Ryan is a very good 'keeper.
    On paper, Australia are a mixed bag and everything will depend on their clash with Denmark.
    Denmark
    Denmark qualified after a play-off, having come second in UEFA's Group E behind Poland.
    The play-off saw them draw 0-0 with the Republic of Ireland in Copenhagen, before hammering
    them 5-1 in Dublin with Christian Eriksen scoring a hat-trick; Eriksen scored 11 overall,
    joint third in UEFA qualifying.
    Manager Aage Hareide has experimented with formations but appears to have settled into
    a 4-3-3 that can look like a 4-2-3-1, though don't be surprised if a 3-4-2-1 is used
    as well. Christian Eriksen is the hub, playing in front of a strong midfield pivot of Thomas
    Delaney and William Kvist, but roaming away from the hole regularly. They will fall back
    into a 4-4-1-1 in a block, but transition quickly.
    [PIC 5 and 6]
    Hareide has tended to play a big, strong striker on the right hand side, either Andreas Cornelius
    or Yussuf Poulsen, with Nicolai Jorgensen the first choice front man. Cornelius or Poulsen
    will push up alongside him, while talented Celta Vigo winger Pione Sisto tucks in from
    the left alongside Eriksen, so Denmark can look like a 4-2-2-2 in attack with the full
    backs pushing up.
    [PIC 7 and 8]
    Hareide has attracted criticism for not picking Andreas Christensen or Jannik Vestergaard
    in defence, and the full backs lack depth, though Riza Durmisi can inject energy on the
    left. Kasper Schmeichel is a very good 'keeper, though, and could spare defensive blushes.
    Denmark are very reliant on Eriksen and if he's marked well, they could struggle to
    create chances. Pione Sisto is an excellent attacking talent, though, and could be Denmark's
    other world class player in years to come.
    Denmark have the talent to progress from the group, but could find it hard against teams
    that are tough to break down.
    France
    Winners in 1998, and runners-up in 2006, France topped a tricky qualification group beating
    Sweden into second, and seeing off the Netherlands, who failed to make it through. Olivier Giroud
    and Antoine Griezmann both scored four and four players scored twice, including Dimitri
    Payet, who misses out on the final squad due to an injury.
    Under Didier Deschamps, France have used a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-3-3, but in recent friendlies,
    they have used the latter formation and it's likely they'll prefer this. The full backs
    will push high to provide width and overlap round the inside forwards who flank a central
    striker, either Giroud or Griezmann. N'Golo Kante is guaranteed to start in the midfield
    holding role, and he will likely be flanked by Paul Pogba on one side. The other side
    could see Blaise Matuidi for greater solidity and box-to-box mobility, Corentin Tolisso
    or Thomas Lemar for pace and creativity, or Steven N'Zonzi for another deep passing
    option.
    [PIC 9 and 10]
    France will press, especially in the midfield area. The 4-3-3 will fall back into a 4-5-1
    or even a 4-1-4-1 against better sides, but France will always be looking to transition
    quickly into a counter, exploiting the searing pace out wide of the two wingers Ousmane Dembele
    and Kylian Mbappe. Dembele and Mbappe can cross, cut in and shoot, or drag markers wide
    to cut the ball back.
    [PIC 11 and 12]
    France have been weakened by a few injuries to experienced players, and look to be lacking
    some leadership in defence, but their forwards and midfield are as good as any in the tournament.
    The group phase will not test them; the question is how far they can progress afterwards.
    Peru
    Peru, under manager Ricardo Gareca, came fifth in the CONMEBOL qualification section, level
    on points with the more fancied Chile but ahead on goal difference. This put them through
    to the inter-confederation play-off against the OFC's winning team, New Zealand. Peru
    won 2-0 at home to seal a 2-0 aggregate win. Edison Flores and skipper Paolo Guerrero scored
    five goals each for Peru in qualification, but Guerrero will miss Russia 2018 as the
    result of a drugs ban.
    Gareca, a former Argentina international whose goal denied Peru a place at Mexico 1986, uses
    a solid 4-2-3-1 that looks like a 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 in defensive pose. The central midfield
    pairing of Renato Tapia and Yoshimar Yotun stay narrow, while creative ten Christian
    Cueva roams around the pitch to collect the ball and start moves.
    [PIC 13 and 14]
    The wide players, usually Jefferson Farfan and Andre Carrillo, will pull wide or push
    up and inside to support the striker, so that Peru can almost look like a 4-2-4 in attack,
    with Cueva drifting to the near side; the full backs will also get forward and Miguel
    Trauco is a particualry danger from left back.
    [PIC 15 and 16]
    Pedro Gallese starred for Peru in goal during qualifying, but Carlos Caceda has played in
    recent friendlies and been superb – this leaves Gareca with tough a decision to make.
    Tapia, who can play at centre back as well, will be Peru's main man in midfield and
    should show his class. While Guerrero's goals will be missed, Peru are still a technically
    capable side with real grit in the middle.
    While topping the group is out of their reach, Peru could spring a surprise and qualify at
    Denmark's expense.
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