France vs Denmark 2-1: Mbappe Double Disrupts Danish Plans

The first team to book a ticket to the 2022 World Cup is, you guessed it, France. The defending champions overcame Denmark 2-1 with a Kylian Mbappé brace at the Stadium 974 on Saturday afternoon. Six points out of two games put them comfortably out of the reach of the other participants in Group D.  

Andreas Christensen temporarily drew level for a Danish side that appeared too passive and woke up only when the damage was done. Things are now getting complicated for coach Kasper Hjulmand’s side, who will need to beat Australia on Wednesday if they want to extend their World Cup experience. 

The match at the Stadium 974 followed a pattern seen many times at this World Cup. Due to the results achieved in the first game and the upcoming calendar, both sides knew that sharing the spoils might not have been a bad idea – even though it would have forced the Danes to win against the Socceroos in any case.   

France were on the attacking end but did not put too much effort in it while Denmark mostly cared about not getting hurt. The result in the first half was a cagey affair with the only clear chance coming from an Adriet Rabiot header that called Kasper Schmeichel to action and found him equal to the task. 

Coach Hjulmand tried to change things upfront as he sent it Martin Braithwaite after the restart but the trend didn’t change much. And so, it took a single episode to finally light a spark that set the sleep-inducing match on fire. 

France built their lead on the left channel, where Mbappe ventured in a powerful acceleration and a brilliant exchange with Theo Hernandez. The Milan left back serviced him back and the PSG starlet fired the ball past Schmeichel with a lightning fast conclusion. 

Luckily for the show, the Danes reacted fast to the shock. Eight minutes later, Joachim Andersen headed the ball in the middle of the box from a corner and Christensen corrected its trajectory, putting it past Hugo Lloris to make it 1-1. 

That was the best moment for Denmark, who went even close to wrap an unexpected comeback. However, Jesper Lindstrom squandered the opportunity as he came up with a central shot that didn’t give Lloris too much reason for concern.

However, coach Didier Deschamps wanted to win it more than his counterpart. He sent in fresh strikers Marcus Thuram and Kingsley Coman and the match momentum quickly switched back in France’s favor.  

On 79 minutes, Rabiot tried to come up with the goal of the tournament from a Theo Hernandez cross but his scissor kick didn’t end on target. Denmark replied with a Braithwaite shot than ended a just a few inches wide as he took advantage of a rare mistake on the part of the Bleus defense. 

In the end, it was the gap in talent and skills that made the difference for France. Coman was picked with a long ball from behind the midfield and connected with Griezmann. From the right flank, Le Petit Diable whipped the ball in the middle of the box, where Rasmus Kristensen lost Mbappe and put him in condition to beat Schmeichel from point-blank range. Curtains down.  

One final note for the sake of nostalgia: when Deschamps sent Marcus Thuram in, then young striker found himself facing Kasper Schmeichel. The two players’ fathers, Lilian and Michael, had played against each other in a World Cup 1998 group stage match that also was won by France 2-1 . For the record, Les Bleus ended up winning that tournament.   



November 26, 2022 – FIFA World Cup Group 

SCORERS: 61′ Mbappe (F), 68′ A. Christensen (D), 86′ Mbappe

FRANCE (4-2-3-1):Lloris; Koundé, Varane (74′ Konate), Upamecano, T. Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot; Dembélé (74′ Coman), Griezmann (93′ Fofana), Mbappe; Giroud (62′ Thuram) (Areola, Mandanda, Saliba, Pavard, Disasi, Veretout, Guendouzi, Camavinga, Kolo Muani) Coach: Deschamps
DENMARK (3-4-2-1): Schmeichel; Andersen, A. Christensen, Nelsson (93′ Bah), Hojbjerg, Eriksen, Maehle; Lindstrom (85′ Norgaard), Damsgaard (73′ Dolberg); Cornelius (46′ Braithwaite) (Ronnow, O. Christensen, Stryger Larsen, Kjaer, Wass, Jensen, Poulsen, Wind, Skov Olsen, Skov) Coach: Hjulmand
REFEREE: Mr. Marciniak (Poland)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Koundé (F), A. Christensen, Cornelius (D); Added Time: 1st Half 1′, 2nd Half 6′
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