11/30/2022
World Cup is a tough thing to defend, and France will be exactly eyeing to emulate that this year in Qatar. They are placed in Group D.

There are some big names that feature in this group and overwhelmingly the French are the favourites to make it past the group. Tunisia, Australia and Denmark will be fighting for their place in the next round.

We have managed to come up with six players who will be instrumental in their nation’s hopes and dreams and here we take a look at them.

Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia) (Club: Montpellier)

Wahbi Khazri came to the limelight with Bordeaux back in 2014. Since then his club career has been wayward with stints at Sunderland, and Rennes. He found a home at Saint Etienne in 2018 and did exceedingly well for them. He plays for Montpellier in Ligue 1 and has so far done decently. A crafty forward, Khazri is versatile as he can cover almost anywhere in the frontline. His ability to score goals and create chances will be pivotal for Tunisia. The minnows have a tough ask in the group and they will bank on Khazri, who is prolific for the country with 22 goals in 51 games. He scored 2 goals in the AFCON this year and will be aiming to emulate his scoring prowess in Qatar.

Christian Eriksen (Denmark) (Club: Manchester United)

Christian Eriksen doesn’t need any introduction. The midfielder was resurrected back to life after collapsing on the field last year. And even with a defibrillator implanted in his body, the Danish warrior will be looking to conquer Qatar. Eriksen has been immense for Man United since his move in the summer. He will be the playmaker in the Denmark squad and will be tinkering with the proceedings from the heart of their midfield. Eriksen’s versatility at the middle will be beneficial for the team as he can defend, find spaces in tight areas and can pick a pass for the attackers. For Denmark’s hopes, Eriksen finding control is pivotal.

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Kylian Mbappe (France) (Club: PSG)

Kylian Mbappe will be slotted in the left wing for France, and occasionally up front. His pace is menacing, his ability to skip past defenders, his skills to bamboozle opponents and goal scoring record definitely makes him one of the top players to keep an eye on. He won the Young Player of the Year award in Russia and will aim to do better this term.

He has scored 28 goals for France in just 59 games. He has 4 WC goals in just 7 matches. The 22-year-old has scored 19 goals so far for PSG in just 20 games this term.

Karim Benzema (France) (Club: Real Madrid)

If rising from the dead is a thing, Karim Benzema’s France career epitomizes that. Benzema was left out of the French squad for a long time and his exile meant he was not part of their title-winning team in 2018. His 2014 campaign was decent as he scored 3 goals in 5 games (scored 2 against Honduras and 1 against Switzerland). But the Real Madrid striker has been in scintillating form in the last couple of seasons, which also earned him the Ballon d’Or a few weeks ago. He has the hunger to prove himself on the grand stage and that means trouble for the opposition. The way Benzema has raised his level in the last couple of years is frightening and even at 34, he can be spine-chilling. Counting Benzema out will only be stupidity.

Adrien Rabiot (France) (Club: Juventus)

With the absence of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, eyes will be on Adrien Rabiot. This is a massive stage for Rabiot to perform and any decent outing will only enhance his reputation. The 27-year-old is expected to start at the midfield and he is the most experienced midfielder in the France squad. It is a monumental responsibility to hold the team together and control their play and Rabiot will be hoping to come off with lofty numbers. He will be given a more defensive role just in front of the defenders as he can break the opponent’s passes and can move forward after winning the possession. Can he be the glue for Les Blues in the midfield? Time will answer.

Adrien Rabiot will be having the midfield role for France

Aaron Mooy (Australia) (Club: Celtic)

It hasn’t been the best of seasons for Aaron Mooy so far. Since his move to Celtic in the summer, Mooy is yet to score a goal for his new club. The Aussie midfielder is a pivotal part of the Socceroos’ zigsaw and will have to turn the tables in the nation’s colours. He has scored 7 goals in 53 matches for them and scored 4 times for them in Asian WC Qualifications. He is a robust midfielder who can play on the right wing. His vision at midfield will be important and runs on the right-hand side will be instrumental for the Australia team going forward. It is definitely worth to keep an eye on Mooy.