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2022 World Cup Group D preview, key players for each team



The 2022 World Cup’s Group D has the defending champions France, Denmark, Australia, and Tunisia in an uncomplicated group.

While Tunisia and Australia are below the top 20 and have only ever played one World Cup knockout game combined, France and Denmark are rated in FIFA’s top 10.

The offensive three of Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema, and Antoine Griezmann continue to make France one of the clear favourites for the tournament despite the absence of injured midfielders Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante.

The first match in Group D, between Denmark and Tunisia, will take place on November 22 at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan. Here is a rundown of the four teams involved.

Table of Contents
Key players: Benzema and Mbappe
Star player: Christian Eriksen
Star player: Ellyes Skhiri
Since the Pele-led Brazil teams of 1958 and 1962, no country has successfully defended its World Cup crown. Italy in 2010, Spain in 2014, and Germany in 2018 were all reigning champions that were kicked out in the group stage.

Will the run be broken by Les Bleus? Coach Didier Deschamp should feel confident in his team given the development of Mbappe into a terrific striker and the return of Ballon d’Or winner Benzema to the lineup.

In his tenth year coaching the French national team, Deschamp, 54, will want to build on a lacklustre UEFA Euro 2020 campaign that ended in the round of 16 after a penalty shootout loss to Switzerland.

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Along with its well-known names, France also boasts an abundance of youthful talent, including Aurelien Tchouameni, Eduardo Camavinga, Christopher Nkunku, William Saliba, and Jules Kounde, all of whom will be making their World Cup debuts in Qatar.

The squad suffered its worst setback as a result of the injuries to key midfielders Pogba and Kante. The defending champions might be vulnerable to a lack of experience with the replacements, including Tchouameni and Camavinga.

Key players: Benzema and Mbappe
In addition to winning the Ballon d’Or, Benzema was awarded the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year. He will be France’s important player in Qatar together with Mbappe.

The former Lyon striker has scored 10 goals in 16 international appearances after restarting his international career at Euro 2020, five and a half years after taking a break. He has shown to be a match-winning player.

At his most recent World Cup, in Brazil in 2014, Benzema got France off to a quick start by scoring twice in a 3-0 victory over Honduras in the tournament’s first game.

Denmark’s surprising victory at Euro 1992, which made the Danish Fairytale international news, has left its influence on Danish football history.

During Euro 2020 last year, the Danish squad came dangerously close to winning again after overcoming the trauma of star player Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest in the first game to advance unexpectedly to the semifinals.

They performed much better during the World Cup qualification. With a few matches left, Denmark clinched the spot.

In barely four months, Denmark defeated France twice in the UEFA Nations League. It’s understandable why the Danes are seen as a possible Group D victor.

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While using a more attack-oriented 4-3-3 against inferior teams, head coach Kasper Hjulmand frequently uses a 3-4-3 system against good opponents. He is skilled at adjusting his strategy mid-game, whether it is by switching his formation or making replacements.

Star player: Christian Eriksen
It’s difficult to imagine a player in Qatar with a more captivating backstory than Eriksen, who figuratively rose from the dead in June 2021 after having a heart attack four minutes before halftime of Denmark’s opening Euro match.

The 30-year-old midfielder has demonstrated remarkable perseverance to advance in his profession, and after a fruitful six-month stint at Brentford, he is now at Manchester United.

With his deft movement, flawless set-piece delivery, and vision to penetrate defenders, Eriksen is unquestionably a vital player for the Danes in the World Cup.

It was just Australia’s second FIFA World Cup and its first in more than 30 years when it earned a spot in Germany 2006. People could think that this is being praised as the continuation of a great era now that the Socceroos are qualified for their fifth straight world finals.

After completing a difficult 20-game qualifying schedule that included two group stages, a continental playoff, and an intercontinental playoff, Australia won a spot.

Graham Arnold, a former assistant coach for Australia who assumed the full-time position in 2018, continues to rely on a number of seasoned players including Melbourne City striker Mathew Leckie, Sunderland centre-back Bailey Wright, and Celtic defensive midfielder Aaron Mooy.

Key player: Ajdin Hrustic

The offensive midfielder was unquestionably the standout of Australia’s qualifying campaign; in addition to scoring the game-winning goal against UAE in the AFC playoff, he also struck the back of the net with a few jaw-dropping free kicks along the road.

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The playmaker, who is 26 years old, helped Eintracht Frankfurt win the UEFA Europa League last season and joined Hellas Verona of Italy in the Summer.

In five World Cup participations, the North African nation has struggled to get past the group stage. And it will be extremely difficult for them to succeed in Qatar.

In the last round of Africa’s World Cup qualification, the Eagles of Carthage defeated Mali 1-0 on aggregate to secure their trip to Qatar.

Star player: Ellyes Skhiri
A crucial defensive element in the midfield is this outstanding box-to-box midfielder. He can snuff out assaults in addition to intercepting and winning second balls.

From his deep-lying position, he generates a lot of chances offensively with his long balls, making him more observant of possibilities than other players. He also has deadly long-range shots in his arsenal.