It was tough, but Socceroo made it to Qatar, as they beat Peru in the intercontinental play-off for 2022 World Cup. Two teams held each other through 120’, and then the Asian visitor defeat Peru by the shoot-out.
Australia grabbed the ticket to fill the last spot of Group D, together with France, Denmark and Tunisia.
Let’s take a look at this promising group.
Players to watch: Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba, …
The title holder and the team with most impressive squad’s depth, World champions is obvious favorite to top group D.
However, it was almost the same team that shockingly eliminated by Switzerland on penalties just last year, at the Euro 2021.
Didier Deschamps must have some sort of mind of steel to hold the team with so many talents together.
Actually, Les Blues already went pass the Euro’s nightmare by winning UEFA Nations League. Now, they are set to defend their trophy at Qatar.
All eyes will be on Benzema, as the Real Madrid’s star could be on his very way to the historic Ballon d’Or. The double (La Liga and Champions League) already ensured Benzema at least 2 individual titles (FIFA The Best and UEFA Player of the Year).
Players to watch: Christian Eriksen, Kasper Schmeichel, …
Denmark was the dark horse of Euro 2021 as they made it to the semi-final before knocked-out by finalist England. But it was the fairytale story of Christian Eriksen that inspired the most. The midfielder went through a near-death experience with the cardiac arrest on the pitch, right in the opening game of his country’s team. Eriksen won the battle with Death and it helped forge a ferocious team spirit that went all the way to the SF.
Now, Eriksen is back and he also managed to score goals for Denmark side.
World Cup 2022 will witness Denmark’s magic again, to see whether they would make it to the knock-out stage as they had done in the previous version of the tournament, 4 years ago in Russia.
Players to watch: Ellyes Skhiri, Wahbi Khazri
Tunisia secured a place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar despite being held 0-0 at home by Mali on Tuesday in the second leg of an African play-off.
It was never easy for the African side, they replaced the head coach Monder Khebaier by Jalel Khadri after the AFCON, which they reached the quarterfinals. The change somehow helped up their game and determination. Tunisia beat Mali by an own goal, conceded only twice in six group games.
This Winter in Qatar will be their 2nd consecutive appearance at the elite’s tournament. It remains to be seen, if Tunisia could break the curse of 5 times eliminated at Group stage since 1978.
Players to watch: Aaron Moy, Awer Mabil
The Socceroo filled the last spot of Group D, and became the 31st team to compete in Qatar, by beating Peru at the opponent’s ground by penalties, thanks to the great reflexes of Andrew Redmayne.
Having to play in the Intercontinental play-off, and now lay in a Group with the reigning champion and Euro 2021’s dark horse, the journey ahead will be tough for Graham Arnold’s squad.
This is their 5th consecutive World Cup and the 6th in their history of playing in the biggest stage of world’s football.
Interestingly, Australia battled the same teams, 4 years ago in Russia, when they sat in Group C with France and Denmark, guess the 3rd team? It was Peru. Wow!
It’s hard to see Australia and Tunisia all the way to the round of 16. However, Socceroos did the unthinkable in the 2006 World Cup, with an even tougher Group (Brazil, Japan and Croatia) as they only got eliminated by eventual Winner Italy in the knock-out phase.
France and Denmark are clear favorites, and of course, their battle on 26th of November may decide the group’s position of first and second place.
1st – France
2nd – Denmark
3rd – Australia