As the world gears up for the FIFA World Cup ahead of it's Friday morning kick-off (AEST), we give an update as to how our group stage opponents and Asian neighbours are faring.
Former Hyundai A-League and Adelaide United winger Johan Absalonsen has backed Denmark to progress through an “even” Group C at the FIFA World Cup™ in place of the Caltex Socceroos.
Absalonsen, who returned to his native Denmark after a season with Adelaide, told Goal that he thinks the Danes have the edge on paper, while France will be the other team to progress to the Round of 16.
"I think it will be so even," Absalonsen said.
"France will take the first position for sure, the three other teams it will be the form on the day that will decide it.
"Maybe Denmark is slightly better on paper than Peru and Australia, but in my opinion it will be so even getting that second spot in the group.
"Of course, I cross my fingers for the red and white but I know it can even be Australia or Peru that can take it."
Denmark’s star midfielder Christian Eriksen has also been at the centre of a mock T-Shirt, designed to reveal his nation’s tactics for the tournament.
Eriksen, who scored 11 goals in FIFA World Cup™ qualifying, the third top scorer in Europe behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski, will be a key man for the Danes as he acts as their creative fulcrum in midfield.
Yet AS in Spain report the Tottenham is at the centre of Denmark’s attacking tactics.
“A new t-shirt reveals the Danish tactics: kick-off, pass to Eriksen; did he score? then start again if not pass to Eriksen,” AS wrote.
There could be some distracting transfer news in the France camp with Manchester United preparing an eye-watering play for PSG star Kylian Mbappé, according to Don Balon.
With rumours afoot that Brazillian superstar Neymar could be on his way to Real Madrid in the European summer, Don Balon is reporting Manchester United are prepared to pay up to €270 million for Mbappé.
It’s not the only transfer news which may have an impact on proceedings within the France camp after Nabil Fekir’s purported move to English Premier League club Liverpool was canned at the eleventh hour.
The Merseyside club had concerns over Fekir’s fitness and injury history, and according to the Liverpool Echo withdrew their interest after they ‘sought a second opinion’ regarding the winger’s history with a knee injury.
Fekir is doing his best to focus on the task at hand though, tweeting that he was en route to Russia to his some 230k followers.
Japan are gearing up for their final FIFA World Cup friendly against Paraguay, which kicks off at 11:05pm Tuesday night (AEST).
It could provide a much-needed confidence boost ahead of their tournament opener against Colombia, following earlier friendly losses to Ghana and Switzerland in the lead up to Russia.
Those defeats mean Japan are yet to win a match during the reign of new boss Akira Nishino, yet the Japan Football Federation have announced a plan to use this FIFA World Cup™ to also educate the next generation.
The Japan Times reports that a 23-man squad of Under-19 internationals have travelled to Japan's FIFA World Cup™ training base to help the senior team with their preparations and also learn from the experience of being in and around football's showpiece event.
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