France had settled the qualification into the Round of 16, and Denmark only needed a draw to secure a spot in the knockout stages. Apparently, that situation played a factor in Tuesday’s match, as neither side decided to take too many risks, and the match ended with a boring stalemate that send both sides out of Group C of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
France looked on top during the first half despite not being able to score
France got off to a better start, though. Les Bleus offered a revamped lineup in comparison to the first two matches and they looked dangerous on the attacking end. The pace of Ousmane Dembele and Thomas Lemar on the wings unsettled the opposing defence quite a bit, and at one point they couldn’t seem to adjust. Thus, it wasn’t a surprise when they began to create the best chances.
First it was Olivier Giroud, who pulled a ferocious strike into the top left corner only to see Kasper Schmeichel deny him with a spectacular save. Dembele and Giroud also tested the Leicester shot-stopper, but both of their attempts went wide. Denmark struggled to pose a threat and by the time the first 45 minutes ended, it was a miracle to see the scoreline 0-0. France looked far better during the first half.
A lackluster second half sends both teams to the next round
One would have thought that the second half would result in a more positive approach from Denmark, but that was not the case. It seemed clear that Denmark already knew Australia were losing and, instead of attacking France in order to score, they adopted a more negative stance looking to protect their result. Aside from a free kick from Christian Eriksen that went straight to Steve Mandanda, Denmark were not much of an attacking threat overall.
Meanwhile, France chose to sit back and kept attacking through the flanks. The likes of Nabil Fekir and Kylian Mbappe entered the pitch to add fresh legs into the final third, but they could not penetrate Denmark’s cohesive defensive line.
Perhaps the most noteworthy thing was the fact that Denmark midfielder Thomas Delaney left the game injured on stoppage time and was replaced by Lukas Lerager. It remains to seen whether his injury will become a concern heading into the knockout stages, but it’s one thing to monitor nonetheless.
With the result, France secured the top spot in Group C with seven points. Denmark finished in second place with five points. Peru (3 pts) and Australia (1 pt) have been eliminated.
Denmark: Schmeichel; Dalsgaard, Kjaer, Christensen, Larsen; Delaney (Lerager, 90+2’), Jorgensen; Sisto (Fischer, 60’), Eriksen, Braithwaite; Cornelius (Dolberg, 75’)
France: Mandanda; Sidibe, Varane, Kimpembe, Lucas (Mendy, 50’); Kante, N’Zonzi; Dembele (Mbappe, 78’), Griezmann (Fekir, 68’), Lemar; Giroud
Referee: Sandro Ricci (BRA). He admonished Mathias Jorgensen (DEN). No red cards were given.
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