France did just enough against Australia to justify being tipped for top spot in most World Cup 2018 Group C predictions.
Les Bleus were cut to 1/4 to progress as pool winners following a 2-1 triumph in Kazan, scoring via an Antoine Griezmann penalty and Paul Pogba’s deflected effort.
Denmark rode their luck when edging out Peru 1-0, with Christian Eriksen setting up Yussuf Poulsen’s 59th-minute strike, and they are 3/1 to finish at the summit.
Los Incas, supported by a huge army of fans, missed a penalty and were denied by Kasper Schmeichel on several occasions as they dominated for long periods.
Some will see 5/1 for Peru to still qualify as good value in their World Cup 2018 Group C betting tips but they face a tough test next.
Standings Group A
France head coach Didier Deschamps is confident there is more to come from his side after they struggled to get past Australia.
“It was not easy, but winning the first match is very important,” Deschamps told L’Equipe.
“It was complicated against a team who gave us a hard time. We missed a change of pace, a little juice.
“At the end of the match, we had a few more opportunities. We did the job, but we can do better, do a lot better.”
Socceroos counterpart Bert van Marwijk remains hopeful that his gutsy side can recover from this initial setback.
He declared: “No one expected we could play like this against France but I think there were a lot of moments when France didn’t know what to do any more, so that’s a big compliment for us.
“I can’t blame any players, I can only give them compliments. We deserved a draw at least.
“When you see this game, you must have confidence for the rest of the tournament, but there is no guarantee.”
|France vs Australia||2 - 1||Kazan Arena|
|Peru vs Denmark||0 - 1||Mordovia Arena|
|Denmark vs Australia||Samara Arena|
|France vs Peru||Ekaterinburg Arena|
|Australia vs Peru||Fisht Stadium|
|Denmark vs France||Luzhniki Stadium|
Denmark boss Age Hareide hailed Leicester goalkeeper Schmeichel following his side’s hard-fought win over Peru in Saransk.
“He is acrobatic, he is a very quick goalkeeper,” commented the manager.
“He is fast on his feet and his goal line play is probably the best in the world when he is in form.
“He had a fantastic performance and it is needed when you get as much pressure on you as Peru did in the second half.”
The 64-year-old added: “I think Peru are an outstanding team. They probably deserved more, but that’s football.”
Los Incas boss Ricardo Gareca refused to blame Christian Cueva’s poor spot-kick for the defeat.
“Of course, people make mistakes,” said the Argentinian. “Afterwards, he participated in lots of plays.
“I think he recovered and that’s the only way you have to try to overcome this kind of adversity.
“He’s a very strong player with a strong character and mindset.”