Australia and Peru will clash to bring an end to Group C, and given they have played alongside the more fancied French and Danish teams, there’s every chance that both of these sides will be out of contention by the time this match comes around.
Alternatively, this match could decide which team will progress to the next round, particularly if the result between France and Denmark proves to be favourable. We’re going to assume the best case scenario for these sides and base our prediction on the best each nation can deliver.
Australia should be used to playing European giants at the World Cup, having encountered Germany, Spain and the Netherlands in the last two tournaments. The only group they have managed to advance from featured Croatia, whom they managed a draw against, and they also defeated Serbia in 2010. This sole victory leaves us confident Australia won’t have picked up too many points in the opening matches here, so a win against Peru will be vital.
The South Americans are somewhat of an unknown quantity at the World Cup considering this is their first tournament in 36 years. They were solid if not spectacular during qualification, often scoring late goals to salvage valuable points, and they would have been good value for a draw in their opening match against Denmark. Regardless of their prior results at this tournament, they will want to end the group stage on a high.
Context is usually a factor in the third group stage matches, as teams may have already qualified (or been eliminated) and therefore send out different lineups or play with unexpected tactics. While it’s extremely unlikely either of these nations would have won their opening two games, you never quite know what the respective managers are thinking, and for that reason it’s worthwhile waiting for kickoff before making a wager.
Although if you want to get in early, there’s some great odds available for both nations. Peru are the favourites, most likely because of their South American pedigree and excellent FIFA ranking. They start at +120, while Australia are outsiders at +233. The draw is almost paying the same, available at +227.
We didn’t expect either of these nations to progress to the second round when outlining our outright predictions, and our stance is unchanged. What we have predicted is a win to the Australians here, simply because of the tenacity and resolve shown through their extended qualification campaign. We were also unconvinced by Peru’s laborious effort in overcoming New Zealand in their intercontinental play-off.
This could be an entertaining affair if each side has nothing to lose. We’re predicting that to be the case, and therefore a 3-2 win to the Australians.
When: Tuesday, Jun 26 (10am ET)
Where: Fisht Stadium, Sochi
TV: FS1, Telemundo*