World Cup 2022 Group D Team Previews
France are the reigning champions of the World Cup, and as their team has not really changed much since the victorious campaign in 2018, they will be expected to not only win Group D but also go far in the knockout stages. France are two-time World Cup winners, having also won the competition in 1998. The one thing that will perhaps worry the French team is the World Cup Curse, which seems to follow the European winners of the competition. France won the competition in 1998 but then crashed out in the group stages at the following World Cup. Italy experienced the same in 2010, having come into the competition as defending champions and then crashing out in the group stage. This would happen to 2010 winners Spain in 2014, and to the 2014 winners Germany in 2018. It is quite an extraordinary coincidence, but to superstitious football fans, there is a hope that if the curse started with France, then they may be the team to end it once and for all.
Australia have qualified for the World Cup 5 times, and their best performance came in 2006 when they reached the round of the last 16. In the last World Cup, they were put with France, Denmark and Peru, and could only secure a draw against Denmark, finishing at the bottom of the group.
Despite the fact that Australia have been drawn with 2 of the same nations as at the last World Cup, where they finished bottom, the team has a new coach and they have developed quite a bit since then.
Denmark have qualified for the World Cup on 5 separate occasions not counting the current World Cup. Their best performance in the competition came in 1998, when they reached the quarterfinals. In that competition they were grouped with France as well, against whom they lost 2-1 but won and drew their two other games to survive the group stage. Denmark faced Nigeria in the round of the last 16, who they smashed 4-1 to reach the quarterfinals. There, they had to play against Brazil. Denmark opened the scoring, but it was not long before Brazil equalised and then took the lead. Brazil extended their lead to two, and though Denmark scored another goal, they could not catch Brazil.
In the 2018 World Cup, Denmark was grouped with France again, and Denmark and Peru. They managed to survive the group stage and headed to the round of the last 16 where they faced Croatia. They drew with Croatia at the end of the game, and after no winner could be determined between the two in extra time, the match was decided by a penalty shootout. Croatia won the shootout to knock Denmark out of the competition.
Though Denmark have not featured in many World Cups, they have made some marks in the competition. They have been drawn in groups with France on numerous occasions and twice they managed to survive the group stage, which should help boost the confidence of the players.
Tunisia has entered the World Cup 5 times, the same as Australia and Denmark. The team did manage to qualify for three editions in a row between 1998-2006, but they have yet to reach the knockout stage. The team did not have a necessarily convincing qualification campaign, although they did finish runners up in the Arab Cup in 2021. This was a huge leap for Tunisian football and if the team wants to build on their success then reaching a World Cup knockout stage could be just that.