France Book Their Place In The Round Of 16 Thanks To An Mbappe Brace
France looked to become the first team to progress to the knockout stages with a win against their bogey team Denmark.
France had convinced many they would be contenders for the title, with their convincing win against Australia on Tuesday, but they were up for a tough test when they faced a resilient Denmark team, who many have tipped to be a dark horse of this World Cup.
France had failed to beat Denmark in their last two meetings in the Nations League, with goals from Dolberg, Olsen and Cornelius. The only player who scored for France in those matches was reigning Ballon d’Or holder Karim Benzema, who was ruled out of the World Cup with a thigh injury before he could even play a game. A loss today would make Denmark the first team France had lost to 3 times in a calendar year.
The first real chance of the game came when Mbappe and Griezmann were running at the Danish defence and Christensen had to make a last ditch tackle. Fortunately for Christensen he had two of his teammates back with him, otherwise he would have undoubtedly seen red.
The France free kick was sent into Rabiot and his header was matched by a brilliant save from Schmeichel.
France started to cause the Danish defence more and more problems as the first half progressed, with Mbappe using his pace and Griezmann having shots at Schmeichel.
Denmark did have opportunities to break though, with Cornelius coming closest after firing a shot towards Lloris in the France goal.
Giroud also had some chances, as he looked to try and add to his two from the Australia game, and break Thierry Henry’s record of 51 goals for France, but no one could seem to break the deadlock and so it went into half-time goalless.
Denmark decided to change things up at half-time, with Cornelius coming off for Martin Braithwaite, as they looked to try and register a shot on target.
The change saw a lot more joy for Denmark, as Eriksen was able to put in a couple of corners.
Mbappe’s lightning pace was still causing numerous problems for the defence, and Griezmann also had a brilliant chance against Schmeichel but he just ended up blazing the ball over the crossbar.
That missed chance seemed to spark France though, and they soon found themselves 1-0 up. The combination play between Hernández and Mbappe opened up the Danish defence and the PSG forward fired a shot beyond Kasper Schmeichel.
France’s lead was not to last for long though. Lindstrøm was causing all sorts of problems with his deliveries into the box, and it was Christensen who brought the Danes back level. He nodded in the flick on from Andersen and got himself a goal to mark his 60th appearance for his national team.
Denmark were not done though, Lindstrøm also soon had another shot at Lloris and Damsgaard made way for striker Dolberg.
Tchouameni and Koundé both then had very good chances to head in a second goal, but Rabiot’s effort was the pick of the bunch, with a very good attempt at a bicycle kick.
Braithwaite was soon at it at the other end though, with Koundé doing just enough to see the striker put it wide.
Another goal in this game was never in doubt and the combination of Griezmann and Mbappe proved once again too difficult for the Danes to handle and France found themselves back in front. Griezmann crossed it to Mbappe at the back post, and the PSG forward used his thigh to bring himself level with Zinedine Zidane in terms of goals for France.
Mbappe was looking for his hattrick as the goal entered injury time, but his long range effort was not enough to trouble Schmeichel in goal.
France: Lloris, Koundé, Varane (75), Upamecano, T.Hernández, Tchouaméni, Rabiot, Dembélé (75), Griezmann, Mbappe, Giroud (63).
Subs: Pavard, Disasi, Guendouzi, Kolo Muani, Fofana, Veretout, Mandanda, Saliba, Coman (75), Areola, Konaté (75), Camavinga, Thuram (63).
Denmark: Schmeichel, Andersen, Christensen, Nelsson, Nissen (92), Højbjerg, Eriksen, Maehle, Lindstrøm (85), Damsgaard (73), Cornelius (46).
Subs: Kjær, Jensen, Braithwaite (46), Olsen, Dolberg (73), Nørgaard (85), Christensen, Larsen, Wass, Wind, Poulsen, Rønnow, Skov, Bah (92).