Our football team look at Thursday's action in the World Cup - where Argentina will be aiming for a better result in Group D.
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- Denmark 0-2 Australia
- France 3-0 Peru
- Argentina 2-1 Croatia
Denmark v Australia (Group C, ITV, 1300 BST)
A meeting of two sides who started the tournament well, with just one of them getting a victory on the board in Group C.
Denmark secured a hard-fought win over Peru and they are favourites to win this clash at a general price of around 10/11 – a result which would go some way to booking their place in the knockout stages.
A couple of questionable decisions saw Australia lose to well-fancied France and if they can repeat this display they are well worth backing for the victory (23/5).
If they want to get out of the group then this match is a must win. Kasper Schmeichel has an impressive international record of late (see stat pack below), but it has to come to an end some time in this tournament and Australia winning with over 1.5 total goals in the match can be backed at an eye-catching 6/1.
With penalties a regular occurrence in the competition so far, backing spot-kick master Mile Jedinak in a score-and-win double could be worth small stakes at 12/1.
Christian Eriksen is undoubtedly Denmark’s danger man – he assisted their only goal in the opening win – but if the likes of Aaron Mooy and Jedinak in Australia’s midfield can keep him quiet then Australia have a definite case for the victory.
Prediction: Denmark 0-2 Australia (George Pitts)
- This will be the fourth encounter between Denmark and Australia, their first at the World Cup. None of their previous fixtures – all friendlies – has ended in a draw (2 wins for Denmark, 1 for Australia).
- Australia have lost seven of their nine World Cup encounters against European opposition (W1 D1), their only win coming against Serbia in 2010 (2-1).
- Australia have lost each of their last four World Cup matches, conceding at least two goals in each game.
- Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has kept a clean sheet in each of his last five matches for Denmark, last conceding a goal 534 minutes ago vs Republic of Ireland.
- Christian Eriksen has had a hand in 17 goals in his last 14 appearances for Denmark (12 goals, 5 assists).
- Mile Jedinak’s goal against France was his second for Australia in World Cup finals matches. Only Tim Cahill (5) has scored more for the Socceroos in the competition (Brett Holman also two).
France v Peru (Group C, ITV, 1600 BST)
France are currently 13/2 third favourites with Sky Bet to lift the World Cup but despite being one of the leading fancies for the tournament, they only stuttered to a 2-1 victory over Australia in their opening match.
It took a late winner to earn them a vital three points but with Peru losing 1-0 in their opener against Denmark, France find themselves in pole position in Group C.
With France expected to come on plenty from that workout against Australia, quotes of 4/7 about them registering another victory seem fair enough given the depth of quality they have at their disposal and how little Peru offered against Denmark.
Paul Pogba, who was excellent in their first game, is left to pull the strings in midfield for France but N'Golo Kante certainly offers him plenty of support along with star man Antoine Griezmann.
Griezmann scored six times as France made the final of Euro 2016 and netted from the spot in the victory over Australia.
Against a poor Peru side and with the very real possibility of VAR raising its head again, 7/5 for Griezmann to score anytime looks the best bet of the game.
Prediction: France 3-0 Peru (Richard Mann)
- The last South American team to beat France at the World Cup were Argentina in 1978. Since then, France are unbeaten in their last seven World Cup fixtures against CONMEBOL opposition (W3 D4), with three of the last four games ending goalless.
- Peru mustered 17 shots in their opening game against Denmark, but still failed to find the net in a 0-1 defeat.
- After consecutive defeats vs Mexico and South Africa in 2010, France are unbeaten in their last four group stage games in World Cup finals (W3 D1 L0).
- Antoine Griezmann has been directly involved in nine of France’s last 13 goals scored in major tournaments (World Cup and European Championships), with seven goals and two assists.
- France’s Olivier Giroud made just three passes in his 20 minute appearance in their opening game victory against Australia, but one of these was the assist for Paul Pogba’s winning goal.
Argentina v Croatia (Group D, BBC One, 1900 BST)
It was far from the ideal start for Argentina, as they were stunned in a 1-1 draw with minnows Iceland.
On the opposite side, Croatia's 2-0 victory over Nigeria sees them top the table after the first round of fixtures.
The South American side know they need a victory here, or could be on the plane home much earlier than expected with Iceland fancied for victory over Nigeria.
Argentina are still 1/4 to progress from Group D, but those odds could drastically increase if they fail to pick up anything here.
For me though, I'd be looking at the team in sky blue and white to secure the three points and get their World Cup campaign back on track.
I do like the look of the Croatia side, but you can't deny the world class talent that Argentina possess, especially going forward.
I'd be looking at Sergio Aguero to get onto the scoresheet here. The Manchester City man has continued to prove himself as one of the Premier League's finest strikers in recent years, and Argentina will be looking at him to help them throughout the tournament.
The odds of 9/4 available on Aguero to score and his side to win looks tempting, with an Argentina victory around the even money mark.
Putting a goalscorer alongside that win part more than doubles the odds, and I'd have faith in Aguero to provide for his side.
Prediction: Argentina 2-1 Croatia (Tom Carnduff)
- This will be the fifth meeting between Argentina and Croatia, with the South Americans winning twice to Croatia’s one (D1).
- Just one of the previous four meetings between Argentina and Croatia was at a World Cup, with Argentina winning 1-0 in a group stage game in 1998, courtesy of Mauricio Pineda’s strike.
- Croatia have lost all four of their World Cup meetings with South American sides, once in each of the four tournaments they’ve played in.
- Lionel Messi has scored in each of his two previous appearances against Croatia, including his first ever goal for Argentina (March 2006).
- Argentina forward Lionel Messi attempted 11 shots in his first game at the 2018 World Cup finals; the most he has attempted in a single match at a World Cup tournament – he failed to score, however.
- Lionel Messi has now failed to score with 21 successive shots in World Cup finals tournaments for Argentina, since last scoring versus Nigeria on June 25th 2014.
- Argentina started their 2018 World Cup campaign with a 1-1 draw against Iceland – they haven’t failed to win either of their opening two Group Stage games at a World Cup since 1974.
- Croatia won their opening game against Nigeria – they’ve not won back-to-back World Cup games since the 1998 tournament.
- Croatia have scored in each of their last five World Cup games, their longest such streak in the competition.
- Croatia defender Vedran Corluka has made 99 appearances for his country. If he plays in this game he’ll be the second member of their 2018 World Cup squad to earn 100 caps for Croatia (after Luka Modric).
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Posted at 2000 BST on 19/06/18
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