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World Cup preview: France v Australia, Argentina v Iceland, Croatia v Nigeria

By Duncan Ferris

Date: Friday 15 Jun 2018

World Cup preview: France v Australia, Argentina v Iceland, Croatia v Nigeria

(Sharecast News) - Groups C and D get underway on Saturday as the World Cup kicks into high gear, with pre-tournament favourites France and Argentina both playing their first matches.

1100 BST France v Australia (BBC) (Group C)

1400 BST Argentina v Iceland (ITV) (Group D)

1700 BST Peru v Denmark (BBC) (Group C)

2000 BST Croatia v Nigeria (ITV) (Group D)

The day's early fixture sees a youthful and dynamic French side facing off against Australia, with the French picking from a roster of forward players that would make any team envious.

Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud will be confident of providing goals while PSG's teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe and Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele just the sort of young exciting players who could set the competition alight.

Australia's squad is less experienced at the top level but new coach Bert van Marwijk will be hoping that a well organized defence and pacey counterattacks could help the Socceroos cause an upset.

Group D's first game will see the 2014 runners-up Argentina in action, a team that shockingly struggled to qualify for the tournament given the wide array of talent in the squad. Lionel Messi will be hoping that he can finally live up to his magnificent Barcelona performances on the international stage after losing two Copa America finals and falling against Germany in the last competition.

Iceland, who so unceremoniously dumped England out of Euro 2016, are playing in their first World Cup and will be relying on the form of Everton playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson and the tactical nous of manager and fully qualified dentist Heimir Hallgrímsson.

The day's early evening kick-off will see Peru return to the tournament after a 36 year absence, a team hoping its captain, record goalscorer and all round talismanic figure Paolo Guerrero can lead the team to glory. Incidentally, Guerrero was initially banned from the competition after testing positive for cocaine before being cleared by the Swiss supreme court.

Tottenham's Christian Eriksen is the undoubted star of the Danish team but viewers might be advised to keep an eye on pacey Ugandan born winger Pione Sisto, who is viewed as something of a rising star.

Saturday's final game welcomes dark horses Croatia to the competition in what promises to be an exciting match against a youthful Nigeria.

Croatia are not to be underestimated and have quality all across the pitch in Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic, Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic, Juventus veteran Mario Mandzukic and Atletico Madrid's Sime Vrsaljko.

Nigeria meanwhile will be hoping that they improve on their poor first half performance in their recent friendly 2-1 loss to England, with a creative attack featuring Premier League players Alex Iwobi, Victor Moses and Kelechi Iheanacho aiming to rain down goals on Croatia.


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