World Cup Preview: Group D

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Kasper Dolberg (No. 12) and the Denmark squad

Kasper Dolberg (No. 12) and the Denmark squad
Picture: Getty Photos

It you ascribe to the speculation that this shall be a very goofy World Cup — that the brief run-up, the accidents all over the place (not clear the quantity of injured is all that irregular however let’s go together with it), the odd setting — and that some staff from out of nowhere may make a run, you’re most likely sizing up your betting/funding alternatives. There isn’t a lot cash to be constituted of France or Argentina or Brazil. You need a bomber. The sort of rating that units you up for a pair weeks. Perhaps even a month. One you bear in mind endlessly. You need that 18-1 that closes onerous on the surface to simply stand up on the wire to shut out a Decide 4 for you at Santa Anita. The excessive we horse racing handicappers are continuously chasing.

So chances are you’ll take a look at Denmark at 28-1, or +2800 when you desire, and suppose, “Yeah, that’s the one,” and already image the Wagyu steak you’re going to be getting on the night time of December 18th (although given the ten AM EST begin time of the ultimate, perhaps it’s all of the brunch, relying on the way you swing).

Definitely there are tantalizing points of going with the Danes for such a worth. Semifinalists on the Euros, the place they took England to further time at Wembley. They solely capitulated because of an personal objective and Harry Kane scoring the rebound off his personal penalty. They’ve a singular togetherness, because of Christian Eriksen’s collapse and restoration throughout Euro 2020(1). And now Eriksen is again! They walked their qualifying group. And of their final “aggressive” outing (how a lot the Nations League was actually aggressive is as much as your judgment) they clocked France 2-0 in Copenhagen in September.

There’s a number of good mojo right here. They’ll additionally bounce by a pair totally different techniques, flexing between a 3-4-3 or a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. They’ve a pair gamers who actually come alive when sporting the nationwide staff shirt. Beginning to see the boxcar payout, aren’t you?

Getting right down to brass tax, sure, there’s loads to love. The return of Eriksen is the most important story, and he’s nonetheless Denmark’s finest and most necessary participant. Whereas they solved his absence in the summertime of 2021 by a bunch effort, with out him they’ll nonetheless be a bit blunt. And he helps remedy certainly one of their issues, which is the dearth of a real, reliable striker in, that he can arrange probabilities from open play or set-pieces that anybody can end. And with Denmark, he will get a platform from Pierre Hojbjerg and Thomas Delaney/Matthias Jensen that he doesn’t get at Man United. He can go wherever and do no matter he pleases with Denmark. Once more, with the brief run-up, set items could also be much more important than regular and there’s few you’d reasonably have delivering them than Eriksen.

They sport top-of-the-line defenders in Italy, Simon Kjær, the backstop to AC Milan’s Scudetto final season. They’ve an Atalanta full/wing-back in Thomas Mæle, and as everyone knows, having Atalanta full/wing-backs is a ticket to enjoyable always, as a result of what you actually get is a wide-forward/winger/fullback all on the similar time. Such is the best way Atalatna play and such is the best way of any participant they deem worthy of certainly one of their wing-back spots. Højbjerg is a kind of gamers who simply turns into one thing else when taking part in for his nation. Let’s simply say they know who they’re.

However there are some purple flags. The massive one is that there isn’t anybody right here they’ll rely on to persistently bang within the targets. Their almost certainly starter is Kasper Dolberg, who scored towards France in that win and netted on the Euros, however is barely taking part in with Sevilla for the time being. The wildcard is Jesper Lindstrøm, who has six targets in 13 appearances for Eintracht Frankfurt up to now this season, however has by no means gotten a run with the nationwide staff (he’s simply 22). You concern that for the entire nice play Denmark can produce, they may run right into a match the place they simply can’t end all of it off. And it solely takes a kind of to fuck up your event past restore.

Within the again, Andreas Christensen isn’t a daily for Chelsea as he was when the Euros passed off, however is out and in of the lineup for Barcelona. Whereas Kasper Schmeichel has an enormous status, he’s 36 now and it’s been a number of seasons since he’s been a plus-keeper. Perhaps he can conjure one final lunge, however he doesn’t bounce off the web page on this state as a keeper who can go Patrick Roy ‘86 for a staff.

And a number of the previous outcomes that make them so tasty aren’t fairly what they appear. Whereas they did take England to extra-time, they have been principally kicked round in that match (2.7-0.2 in xG). They have been considerably fortunate to even get previous the Czechs within the quarters. Their qualifying group was fairly rattling smooth. Honest play to them, they trounced by it as an excellent staff ought to do, however you possibly can’t level to any big outcomes there.

And in the event that they don’t win this group, it’ll be Argentina within the Spherical of 16, which…is an issue. Ought to they upset France and win the group, then it’s the hanging curve of Mexico or Poland or Saudi Arabia within the spherical of 16. Then it might be England or the Dutch or (tries to not go out) the US. So yeah, there’s only a bit driving on their second match towards the defending champs.

Ah, France. It hasn’t been a nice highway for groups that gained the earlier World Cup in current historical past. Germany threw up most of their intestines in Russia and went out within the Spherical of 16 to Russia on penalties within the worst show of tiki-taka in historical past. Spain didn’t get out of the group in Brazil. Neither did Italy in 2010.

And it hasn’t been precisely smooth-sailing within the construct for Les Bleus, however it by no means is. In any case, they’re a bit fuckin’ French. The midfield that gained the trophy final time isn’t right here in any respect, as each N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba gained’t swimsuit up. That leaves Aurélien Tchouaméni and Eduardo Camavinga to anchor the center. Which is hardly the worst destiny, provided that’s the midfield that’s presently additionally anchoring Actual Madrid because it leaves tire tracks throughout La Liga. However they’re inexperienced at this highest degree, and there’s little or no depth there. Except you belief Adrien Rabiot, and when you do, you most likely have a crypto portfolio.

Okay however like, they nonetheless have that entrance line, the place Kylian Mbappe can play off Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann and if that doesn’t work there’s Christopher Nkunku or Kingsley Coman to alter issues up in the event that they want. So that they have the perfect ahead in France, the perfect ahead in Spain, and perhaps the perfect ahead in Germany to name upon to get targets. Fairly straightforward to see how a dolt like Didier Deschamps gained a World Cup as supervisor now.

The protection has a wealth of choices too, like William Saliba who’s presently anchoring the Premier League leaders. Or perhaps Raphaél Varane or Dayot Upamecano is extra your pace. Or perhaps you’re a Presnel Kimpembe man or lady. At fullback, there’s both Hernández (Lucas or Theo) and Benjamin Pavard. Throw a dart at a board and France will roll out a menacing protection and assault. It’s only a query if they’ll hyperlink the 2.

Whereas Australia are a impartial favourite just by being outspoken in regards to the ridiculousness of this event happening in Qatar, it doesn’t really feel like they’ll be round lengthy to stage their protest. It is a squad made up of A-Leaguers and Scottish Premier League gamers, solely certainly one of which is on Celtic or Rangers. They did not beat both Japan or Saudi Arabia of their qualifying group, the one actual groups they noticed. They wanted penalties to get previous Peru to qualify for the event. Know them early or don’t know them in any respect.

Tunisia present up as most likely Africa’s weakest qualifier. The final time we noticed them in a event, they have been dropping to Burkina-Faso within the African Cup of Nations quarter finals after which sneaking previous Mali in qualifying, 1-0 over two legs. They’ll hope that the troika of Aissa Laïdouni, Wahbi Khazri, Youssef Msakni can ship a thunderbolt into both France or Denmark (one thing like this) whereas perhaps notching solely their third ever win at a World Cup over Australia.

Supervisor almost certainly to get purple carded

Australia’s Graham Arnold. Deschamps spends an excessive amount of time simply with a confused look on his face as he watches what goes on earlier than him, Kasper Hjulmand is simply too cool, so it’s between Arnold and Tunisia’s Jalel Kadri. We’re going with the Aussie to lose his cool.

Finest jerseys

They’re the chalk in so some ways, however you actually can’t go improper with the understated France look.

Schedule

Tuesday, November twenty second – Denmark v. Tunisia (8am EST), France v. Australia (2pm EST)

Saturday, November twenty sixth – Tunisia v. Australia (5am EST), France v. Denmark (2pm EST)

Wednesday, November thirtieth – France v. Tunisia, Denmark v. Australia (10am EST)





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