Football

The Bluffer's Guide To The World Cup: Group C

The Bluffer's Guide To The World Cup: Group C

You may only have a passing interest in football, but with the World Cup upon us now is the time to hone your meagre footballing knowledge, if only for the inevitable water cooler chat the day after a big game.

The Bluffer's Guide To Group C

France

Nickname: Les Bleus

Manager: Didier Deschamps

FIFA Ranking: 7

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France have incredible depth in the attacking areas, with the likes of Nabil Fekir, Ousmane Dembele & Olivier Giroud not guaranteed a place in the first eleven.

Their only potential weakness is their full backs, with Man City's Benjamin Mendy and Monaco's Djibril Sidibe only recently returning from injury, although questions remain as to whether France can gel all of their world class attacking talent into a cohesive unit.

France's form has been spotty as of late with a recent 3-2 turnaround defeat at the hands of Colombia particularly embarrassing, but Didier Deschamps men should progress to the latter stages of this competition.

Thing to say to make yourself sound clever: Deschamps may rue building his team around a mercurial Pogba.

Meaningless platitude to spout every now and again: It's a team of individuals out there.

Useless stat to churn out to give a semblance of expertise: This is France's 15th World Cup appearance and coach Deschamps was captain when Les Bleus won their one and only World Cup trophy.

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Denmark

Nickname: De Rød-Hvide - The Red-White

Manager: Åge Hareide

FIFA Ranking: 12

Norweigan coach Age Hareide has built a team to play to Christian Eriksen's strengths, and this has proved a fruitful approach if their play-off demolition of Ireland is anything to go by. Denmark do have quality in their squad with the non-Irish Thomas Delaney, Celta Vigo winger Pione Sisto and Kasper Schmeical big players for the Danes.

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Watch out for Brentford centre back Andreas Bjelland who is tipped to start for Hareide's side.

Thing to say to make yourself sound clever: Can't believe they've gone with Bjelland at the back when they have Andreas Christensen in the squad. Madness.

Meaningless platitude to spout every now and again: If the opposition can somehow shackle Eriksen, this Danish side could wilt.

Useless stat to churn out to give a semblance of expertise: Denmark are the fourth tallest team in the competition with an average height of 185cm. Now that is a useless stat.

Australia

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Nickname: The Socceroos

Manager: Bert van Marwijk

FIFA Ranking: 36

Australia are a well drilled outfit and are physically assertive, but may struggle for goals in the absence of a consistent goalscorer. Erstwhile talisman Tim Cahill may be in Bert Van Marwijk's squad, but the 38-year-old has not been in great form of late with an underwhelming loan stint at Millwall doing nothing for the striker's case for a starting berth.

Van Marwijk was appointed only in January on a short-term deal to replace Ange Postecoglou, who quit after guiding the team through qualifying. Van Marwijk himself quit Saudi Arabia after leading them to qualification.

Celtic's Tom Rogic, Crystal Palace's Mile Jedinak and Brighton's Aaron Mooy are all key players for the Socceroos and all will have to be on their game if the Aussie's are to cause an upset in Group C.

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Thing to say to make yourself sound clever: Van Marwijk needs to go with either Tom Rogic or Aaron Mooy, it's like Gerrard Lampard all over again.

Meaningless platitude to spout every now and again: The Aussie's will have to keep it tight and hope they can nick a goal from a set piece.

Useless stat to churn out to give a semblance of expertise:  If Tim Cahill manages to score in Russia he will have scored in four consecutive World Cups, joining the likes of Pele and Miroslav Klose who have achieved the same feat.

Peru

Nicknamse: La Blanquirroja - The White and Red, Los Incas - The Incas

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Manager: Ricardo Gareca

FIFA Ranking: 11

All of the speculation leading up to Peru's preparation fro the World Cup surrounded their captain Paolo Guerrero, who was banned by FIFA for doping,  but after a lengthy appeal process, allowed to play in this summer's showpiece.

Gareca, nicknamed Tigre, has a passionate, energetic group of players at his disposal, and has instilled a sense of discipline in his team, and La Blanquirroja could cause an upset against Ireland's conquerors Denmark.

Edison Flores (cruelly nicknamed Orejes because of his ears) has scored nine goals under Gareca and the 24-year-old will be pivotal if Peru are to defy expectations and escape the group.

Thing to say to make yourself sound clever: Tigre has to push Farfan closer to Guerrero if the Incas need a goal.

Meaningless platitude to spout every now and again: This team is the mirror of its coach; a feisty South American.

Useless stat to churn out to give a semblance of expertise: Former Argentina international Gareca once scored a goal to prevent the side he now manages from getting into the Mexico '86 World Cup.

See Also: The Bluffer's Guide To The World Cup: Group A

Eoin Lyons

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