Qatar 2022 World Cup Team Profiles – Group D

1. France (Group D)

  • Coach: Didier Deschamps
  • Captain: Hugo Lloris
  • Most Capped Player: Lillian Thuram (142)
  • Top Scorer: Thierry Henry (51)
  • World Cup Appearances: 16 (first in 1930)
  • FIFA Ranking: 4th
  • Best run: Champions in 1998 and 2018
  • Group D rivals: Australia, Denmark, and Tunisia

Key Players: Hugo Lloris, Raphael Varane, Presnel Kimbepe, Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema, Oliver Giroud and Antoinne Griezmann

Status: France will arrive at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar hungry to defend the title they lifted four years ago in Russia.

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READ: Qatar 2022 World Cup Team Profiles – Group C

Their star-studded side will be confident of another good run at the tournament but must be wary of a recent trend that’s seen past winners fail to escape their group.

After winning the World Cup in 2018, France also won the UEFA Nations League in 2021 but were knocked out in the Round of 16 at the delayed Euros.

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Didier Deschamps’s side will go into the 2022 World Cup having won just one of their last six matches and will be relying on their players to step up when it matters most in Qatar.

Personal Verdict: Despite some recent poor results and injuries that have dampened their midfield options, Les Bleus still remain the team to beat considering the wealth of attacking talents they possess in their rank, a run to another Final appearance looks likely

2. Australia

  • Coach: Graham Arnold
  • Captain: Matt Ryan
  • Most Capped Player: Mark Schwarzer (109)
  • Top Scorer: Tim Cahil (50)
  • World Cup Appearances: 6 (first in 1974)
  • FIFA Ranking: 38th
  • Best run: Round of 16 in 2006
  • Group D rivals: France, Denmark, and Tunisia

Key Players: Matt Ryan, Matthew Leckie, Aaron Mooy

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Status: In recent times, Australia have made heavy weather of reaching the World Cup, so they had to defy diminishing expectations in qualifying for a fifth consecutive finals appearance by beating Peru on penalties in June.

In that context, and with the Socceroos’ ‘Golden Generation’ now long gone, qualification is the prize for Graham Arnold’s men and anything more in Qatar is a bonus – including a repeat of the Grey Wiggle dance with which shootout-specialist goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne secured their place.

READ: 15 best soccer movies to watch in 2022

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Personal Verdict: If Australia are to succeed at the Qatar World Cup 2022, they will need to discover a way to stand up to the best. 

Australia became the first country in World Cup qualifying history to win 11 consecutive games in one campaign, but then they faced stronger sides and fell out of the automatic qualification spots with a single victory at home to Vietnam in seven matches. 

One point from four meetings with Saudi Arabia and Japan left the Socceroos needing mightily narrow play-off wins against the UAE and Peru to book their spot in Qatar; far tougher challenges await, which makes it unlikely for them to make the knockout round

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3. Tunisia 

  • Coach: Jalel Kadri
  • Captain: Youssef Msakni
  • Most Capped Player: Rahdi Jaidi (105)
  • Top Scorer: issam Jemaa (36)
  • World Cup Appearances: 6 (first in 1978)
  • FIFA Ranking: 30th
  • Best run: Group Stages in ALL
  • Group D rivals: France, Denmark, and Australia

Key Players: Youssef Msakni, Wahbi Khazri, and Ali Maaloul

Status: Tunisia are the flyweights who just love to knock out African football’s heavyweights. 

Despite a decrepit sporting infrastructure for a nation of just 12 million, the team rises above its limitations and employs teeth-grinding ‘grinta’ to regularly qualify for major tournaments.

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This year’s version of the Eagles of Carthage is no different. Watch as they get stuck into tackles, win 50-50s and then roll around to convince referees they’re the victims – that is how they continue to punch above their weight.

READ: What is a fullback in Soccer?

Personal Verdict: How The Carthage Eagles always qualify for the World is a surprise. And anytime they qualify they are always the group whooping boys. 

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They will put up a good fight, dive in tackles and display huge passion against any nation they meet, but watch them concede cheap goals and finish bottom of the group.

4. Denmark 

  • Coach: Kasper Hjulmand
  • Captain: Simon Kjaer
  • Most Capped Player: Peter Schmeichel (129)
  • Top Scorer: Jon Dahl Tomasson and Poul Nielsen (52)
  • World Cup Appearances: 6 (first in 1986)
  • FIFA Ranking: 10th
  • Best run: Quarterfinals in 1998
  • Group D rivals: France, Tunisia, and Australia

Key Players: Christian Eriksen, Pierre-Emile Hojberg, Mikkel Damsgaard, Kasper Schmeichel and Andreas Christensen

Status: Denmark will aim to emulate their emotionally charged run to the Euro 2020 semifinals in Qatar, minus the drama of Christian Eriksen’s horrifying collapse.

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The Manchester United midfielder has made a startling recovery following his cardiac arrest on the pitch during that tournament, which forced him to step away from the game.

READ: What is a brace in soccer?

He has, thankfully, returned and has become a fixture in the Premier League once again. Eriksen will function as the Danes’ creative engine at his fifth major tournament.

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A dominant qualifying campaign and two recent victories over defending world champions France demonstrate the potential of Kasper Hjulmand’s side, bringing a core of established talent at the mature end of their primes to the Middle East.

Personal Verdict: A brilliant run to the Final Four Euro 2020 was unimaginable from the Danes, and they haven’t stopped there either. They won 9 out of 10 in qualification for Qatar 2022, and also defeated World champions twice in their Nations League A. 

With all these in mind, I fully expect the Danes to join France in the last 16, don’t be surprised if they challenge Les Bleus for the top spot

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