Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba will miss France’s Soccer World Cup defence as he needs more time to recover from knee surgery. Photo: Getty Images

World Cup 2018: Group C teams, fixtures and kick-off times

On paper, France are one of the strongest outfits at this year’s World Cup and all eyes will be on Paul Pogba and Co as they look to take Les Bleus all the way.

Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba will miss France’s Soccer World Cup defence as he needs more time to recover from knee surgery. Photo: Getty Images

France stand head and shoulders above the rest of the teams in Group C at this year’s 2018 World Cup and it will be interesting to see who between Australia, Denmark and Peru, can book their spot alongside Les Bleus.

Coach Didier Deschamps, who captained the 1998 World Cup winning team, has a wealth of attacking talent at his disposal. The talented trio of Antoine Griezmann, Kyle Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele should provide plenty of fireworks in front of goal. And if Paul Pogba can come to the party, then France can really start looking at the semifinals and beyond.

Atletico Madrid’s French striker Antoine Griezmann celebrates after scoring their first goal during the UEFA Europa League first leg semi-final football match between Arsenal and Atletico Madrid at the Emirates Stadium in London on April 26, 2018.
The game finished 1-1. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNIS

The Manchester United superstar, whose inconsistent performances this season have come in for a lot of criticism, believes he can lead the French national team.

“I’m going to take the reins of the France team, try to be the boss on and off the pitch. I hear it (criticism) a lot. I hope to give my answer on the pitch and show everyone. I was the best young player (in 2014). I hope I’ll be the best player overall at the World Cup. That would be great.

The withdrawal of Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny wasn’t too much of a blow with Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane and Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti on board to provide some order at the back. They also have one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Tottenham Hotspurs’ Hugo Lloris, and Ngolo Kante, known as the policeman, will be key in midfield.

The danger for France is meeting the expectations placed on them by the public. They are expected to win this group quite easily and one missed step won’t go down well with the French media. Their failure to deliver on home soil at Euro 2016, losing in extra time to Portugal in the final, will only add to the pressure.

Deschamps is expected to name his squad after Wednesday’s Europa League final between Marseilles and Atletico Madrid.

Of the three remaining teams, Denmark appear the most likely to emerge from Group C.

Brushing the Republic of Ireland aside in the playoffs, there is a wealth of talent in the Danish side looking no further than Tottenham Hotspurs’ Christian Eriksen. The attacking midfielder is a threat from both open ball and deal ball situations and if given too much space, will be too much for the likes of Peru and Australia.

The Socceroos have lost some of the star power they’ve possessed in previous campaigns while the Peruvians, who knocked Chile out during qualifying, will rely on their ability to effectively rally their ranks together to have any chance of upsetting the applecart.

Group C teams:






All kick-off times are SAST.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

France v Australia


Kazan Arena, Kazan

Peru v Denmark


Mordovia Arena, Saransk

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Denmark v Australia


Samara Arena, Samara

France v Peru


Ekaterinburg Arena, Ekaterinburg

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

France v Denmark


Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

Peru v Denmark 


Fisht Stadium, Sochi