Christian Eriksen is ready to leave Denmark camp at short notice for the birth of his first child, with their coach crossing his fingers the new arrival comes before Russia.
Plus, Olivier Giroud hoses down Karim Benzema talk and Peru look to do their nation proud on the world stage.
It’s all in our latest edition of Opponent Watch!
Denmark coach Age Hareide has spoken publically, saying he has his fingers crossed Christian Eriksen’s newborn arrives before the team departs for Russia.
Currently in training camp in Denmark, Danish press have reported Eriksen has a “car ready to go” the moment he hears from partner Sabrina about the birth.
“Sabrina, of course, wants me to be there as much as possible, but she is also understanding that I’m going to the World Cup,” Eriksen told Ekstra Bladet.
“You don’t know when the baby is coming, so it’s hard to say that right now when I go along. Many [teammates] here have children and know how it’s going to happen, but I’m a bit green at it because I have not done it before.
“There are many who have contributed to a birth and then played one to two days later. It may be that it is possible, and it may be that it is not necessary. We have to see how it goes, and it’s also about the child’s hope to be healthy and fast.”
Coach Age Hareide reiterated Eriksen’s hopes for a fast arrival, saying the situation “must be solved in a sensible way” and that the team is hopeful for him to not miss a World Cup match in Russia.
"We hope that it will happen before we travel. We cross fingers because it happens while we are in Denmark because it is difficult to get up if we are on our way to Russia,” Hareide said.
"We must have solved it in a sensible way. It's not so many times in life that it happens, so it's important that we make sure that Christian can be present.
France striker Olivier Giroud has played down more talks about Karim Benzema, who was not selected in Les Bleus’ 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup.
Benzema scored for Real Madrid in the Champions League final win over Liverpool on Sunday (AEST) but will not be in Russia, with Chelsea’s Giroud instead in line to be the starting No.9 for Didier Deschamps’ side.
"Everything is fine but, for sure, this story has followed me all my career long," Giroud said from their pre-FIFA World Cup camp, referencing the fact he and Benzema had long competed to lead the line for their nation.
"Somehow it's my destiny, it's like that. I use that to become stronger.
"I have fed off that to grow up as a man and a player. If today I am mentally strong it's maybe because I have known all these adventures.
"My job is just to help the team to reach its goal. I hope I can score a lot of goals in the future for that. I would enjoy it, for sure."
Peru star Andre Carrillo has declared the FIFA World Cup is a chance for his side to gain international respect and give the country a good name in front of the watching world.
The South Americans, who have qualified for their first World Cup in 36 years, will be without their captain and star striker Paolo Guerrero but Carrillo insisted they still want to do their fans proud.
"We have played good games, but it is not enough to win in streaks," he said on Friday.
"We have to keep up the level to gain respect and confidence and give Peru a very good name.”
Degenek not taking his foot off the gas
Twelve months ago, Caltex Socceroos defender Milos Degenek was playing in Japan — now, he’s tearing up Serbia’s SuperLiga, having been named in the league’s best eleven for the first half of the season. It’s a credit to Degenek, 24, who signed with Red Star Belgrade in July
Degenek named in Serbian Superliga's best XI
Caltex Socceroos defender Milos Degenek has been named in the Serbian Superliga’s best eleven players of the first half of the season after his performances for Red Star Belgrade. AUSSIES ABROAD: Sainsbury denies former club Inter in first UCL start READ MORE: Where you can w
FFA to conduct additional injury assessment with Aaron Mooy
Football Federation Australia (FFA) acknowledges Huddersfield Town’s statement regarding Aaron Mooy released on Thursday morning (AEDT). Due to the significance of the AFC Asian Cup to the Caltex Socceroos, FFA will proceed with a plan to deploy its High Performance Coordina
Aussies Abroad: Rogic and Vukovic progress to Europa League Round of 32
The Europa League Round of 32 will have an Aussie flavour after Tom Rogic and Danny Vukovic both sealed their progression to the knockout stage of Europe’s second-tier competition. Rogic played 90 minutes as Celtic did it the hard way, their 2-1 loss at the hands of FC Salzbur