Winners in 1998, France are the star attraction in Group C, from which they are expected to progress with little drama to the sharp end of the tournament.
Surprise South American qualifiers Peru are also in Group C, and will open their first World Cup finals tournament since 1982 with a game against Denmark. Australia will be France’s first opponents.
Read on for the fixtures, group odds and forecasts in Group C…
Kazan Arena, Kazan
Mordovia Arena, Saransk
Cosmos Arena, Samara
Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
Unsurprisingly, as top seeds and the only team in Group C not to have needed the play-offs to qualify for the World Cup finals, France are favourites to top the group.
Bet365 are offering 2/7 on the French winning the group, with Denmark second favourites at 9/2. Peru are 10/1 and Australia are outsiders at 20/1.
There is even less value in backing France to qualify for the second round – they are 1/20 to qualify from Group C with Bet365 while Denmark are also odds-on at 4/6.
In the four World Cups they have qualified for, Denmark have only once failed to reach the last-16, though that was in their most recent tournament in 2010.
Australia, meanwhile, have been knocked out in the group stage in each of the last two tournaments – losing all three matches as they crashed out in 2014. Given their difficulty in even reaching the finals this year, they will not be expected to do much again this time.
That leaves Peru, who are the unknown factor in many respects – they have surpassed expectations just reaching the World Cup, particularly at Chile’s expense in the South American group. Having scraped through their play-off against New Zealand, however, it also seems unlikely they will be able to usurp Denmark or France.
Given Denmark are odds-on favourites to join France in the second round, and France are such big favourites to win Group C, you will maximise your potential rewards by opting for a Group Forecast bet instead.
Bet365 are offering 6/4 on France winning the group and Denmark finishing second. Considering they are higher odds than the Spain-Portugal forecast in Group B, where both sides will fancy their chances of finishing top, 6/4 is a very generous price for France-Denmark.
Australia are 4/5 favourites to finish bottom of Group C, but will take heart from the fact Peru needed two legs to overcome a New Zealand side that the Aussies have so regularly out-performed. Peru are 2/1 to finish bottom, but the return of captain Paolo Guerrero is a huge boost, and if he hits top form they should out-gun Australia.
It is clear France are the favourites to win Group C, and it is also clear Denmark are expected to join them in the second round. With that in mind, it is a very generous price being offered by Bet365 on the 1st – France, 2nd – Denmark forecast. Back them to finish in that order at 6/4 with Bet365.
France (6/4 to finish 1st with Denmark 2nd with Bet365)
Denmark (8/13 to qualify with Bet365)
3) Peru (2/5 to fail to qualify for the second round with Bet365)
4) Australia (4/5 to finish bottom of Group C with Bet365)
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