Opponent Watch: Denmark coach takes aim at Pogba, France

Denmark boss Age Hareide has stoked the fire ahead of the FIFA World Cup by taking a swipe at Paul Pogba and claiming group rivals France are overrated.

Meanwhile, we discover why another nation's player been spotted wearing a Caltex Socceroos kit, and find out which Russia-bound coach is set to step down.

DAY 6 WRAP: Training and family time for Caltex Socceroos

GALLERY: Caltex Socceroos Day 6 training wrap

It's all in our latest installment of Opponent Watch.


If Age Hareide's is to be believed, France are from the certainties to escape Group C that many suspect.

Les Bleus are widely expected to go deep into the tournament, but the Denmark coach - who will meet Didier Deschamps' men in the final round of group games - is wholly unconvinced.

"I don't believe in this team," Hareide told Danish publication Jyllands-Posten.

"The teams at the top of the world rankings are the best in the world, but this is not the case for France.

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"I saw France against Sweden in Stockholm. They are nothing special."

And as for Manchester United star Pogba?

Hareide, a former Norway, Brondby and Malmo manager, is less than impressed.

"He played against Manchester City with his hair dyed blue and white, maybe he'll have it red and white to play us," he said.

"Does he only think about his haircuts?"

Pogba and Hareide
Age Hareide has questioned Paul Pogba's priorities.


Host nation Russia have come up with a warm way to welcome the 31 countries that will compete alongside them at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Members of Stanislav Chercheshov's extended squad paused their training commitments to pose for a photo in the playing shirt of their on-field rivals.

Spartak Moscow defender Ilya Kutepov, capped six times by Russia, was the lucky player to don Caltex Socceroos colours.

Ilya Kutepov
Ilya Kutepov sporting Australia's playing kit.

Long-serving goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev issued a welcome to players, coaches and fans and his sentiments were echoed by experienced defender Sergei Ignashevich.

"I hope everyone likes Russia," said Ignashevich, who holds the all-time record for Sbornaya caps.

"It's summer here, the weather is wonderful and the people are friendly. I'm sure you'll be happy.”


Having qualified the country for a second successive FIFA World Cup, Carlos Queiroz has confirmed this will be his last in charge of Iran.

The 65-year-old former Real Madrid head coach will step down at the end of the tournament following a breakdown in contract talks.

Queiroz, who has been in charge for over seven years, felt the federation's offer of a six-month extension to cover the 2019 AFC Asian Cup did not reflect the work he has done in leading Team Melli to 36th in the world rankings.

"After all these years, for the Iranian federation to only extend the contract for six months is a decision that shows no appreciation or recognition for what I've done," he told Reuters.

"It's an offer that isn't acceptable from my point of view. The negotiations are closed, they are behind me."

Queiroz revealed he had considered retiring but retains the ambition to lead another country to what would be his fifth successful FIFA World Cup qualification.

Carlos Queiroz
Carlos Queiroz is on the lookout for a new challenge.