World Cup Group D: Defending champions France looking to end run of cup-holder flops

World Cup 2022 team-by-team guide


Manager: Didier Deschamps

World Cup history: 16th appearance. Best result – Winners in 1998 and 2018

Four of the last five defending World Cup winners have crashed out in the group stage. Poor Nations League form and several injury concerns mean Les Bleus will be guarding against another tournament flop. France still have one of the strongest squads in the tournament and a plethora of young talent to choose from, hoping it clicks come tournament time.

Star man: Kylian Mbappé. One of the best forwards in the world and a star of the 2018 World Cup victory, he is apparently being paid €210 million a year by Qatar-owned PSG.



Manager: Graham Arnold

World Cup history: Sixth appearance. Best result – Last 16 in 2006

The Socceroos have quietly become World Cup regulars, in what is their fifth appearance in a row. Only once have they progressed past the group stage though, in 2006, and they no longer have the quality of players they had back then. A tough ask to get out of the group.

Star man: Aaron Mooy. The former Huddersfield midfielder is now under fellow countryman Ange Postecoglu at Celtic and plays a key role in their midfield.


Manager: Kasper Hjulmand

World Cup history: Sixth appearance. Best result – Quarter-finals in 1998

Denmark are good operators, beating France twice in the Nations League this year, while they won nine straight games to qualify for the World Cup with ease. They were only an extra-time goal away from the Euros final last year too. The return of Christian Eriksen to form after his cardiac arrest in the Euros is significant.

Star man: Christian Eriksen. How harrowing that moment was against Finland. Few would have expected the attacking midfielder to play again, never mind play some of the best football for his life for Manchester United.


Manager: Jalel Kadri

World Cup history: Sixth appearance. Best result – Group Stage (each time)

Tunisia will try to make things awkward for the opposition and some good recent results include victories over Chile and Japan. A 5-1 loss to Brazil in their last friendly, however, showed they’re a few levels below the top teams and will struggle to make the last 16 on their sixth attempt.

Star man: Montassar Talbi. The Lorient defender has been in good form this season in Ligue 1 and scored against Brazil in a recent friendly.

David Gorman

David Gorman

David Gorman is a sports journalist with The Irish Times