Denmark v Australia, Thursday 21st June, 13:00
As a result of how they played in their opening round loss to France, Australia will have identified this game as one that they have a reasonable chance of winning; all the more so given the laboured performance that Denmark put in against Peru. Yes, the Danes won but they didn’t impress, certainly not enough to put off an Australia side that counted themselves unlucky not to get a draw last week. They aren’t flash but they will fight and go for the win, and in Aaron Mooy they have an excellent puppet master in the middle.
Speaking of men pulling the strings, it was a weirdly ineffective performance by Christian Eriksen in Denmark’s opening game. He did supply the pass which led to their winning goal (so maybe an off-his-game Eriksen is still good enough for most teams) but his deliveries from set-pieces were largely awful and he didn’t dictate in the manner his team needed. If he repeats that performance against Australia, you wouldn’t fancy them to get out of jail again.
Having said all that, and not for the first time, this column finds itself at odds with the market and not just by a smidgen. Denmark are slightly shorter than evens in most books whereas the draw is being floated at better than 2/1. This column, however, is fancying Australia to nick it and so will be taking a look at 888Bet who are offering 7/2 on that very outcome.
Peru Could be Tough for France to Break Down
France v Peru, Thursday 21st June, 16:00
This match has the makings of a thriller and, dare we say it, another upset. Although both of France’s goals were awarded to them after the intervention of technology (and luck in the case of the second goal), they were legitimate strikes. Their overall play, though, was disjointed and individualistic. Up against a tough Australia team, they couldn’t happen upon any clear route to batter them down and impose their will on the game. If they haven’t improved since then, they will not find the going any easier against Peru.
The South American team surprised many viewers in their match against Denmark simply by virtue of the fact that they didn’t win. Denmark had half the shots on goal, three times the saves made and were the lesser of the two overall but punished some naivety in Peru’s set-up and got their goal. If Peru repeat those mistakes, France have the players to punish them; conversely, if Peru attack like they did against Denmark and start with Guerrero, they have the skills to score some goals.
Once again, we’re going to push the increasingly leaky boat out and go against the prevailing wisdom of the bookmaking fraternity by saying that France won’t win. Of course, they should but this column can’t quite bring itself to believe that. There’s a feeling in the bones that a draw might be the outcome and if you fancy some of that action, get you to Bet365 for a price of 16/5.