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France 2-1 Denmark: Match report, player ratings, expert analysis, fan reaction and more

A brace from star man Kylian Mbappé sealed all three points for the reigning World Cup champions as Didier Deschamps’ outfit laid down a statement result as they are on the hunt for repeat success

Didier Deschamps’ defending World Cup champions France have become the first team to qualify for the knockout stage at the 2022 World Cup while becoming the first holding nation to get out of the group stage since Brazil in 2006 as Les Bleus earned an impressive 2-1 win over Denmark at Stadium 974.

A brace from PSG talisman Kylian Mbappé was the difference on the night against a motivated and talented De Rød-Hvide outfit that came into tonight’s clash boasting a pair of recent wins against France during the recent UEFA Nations League cycle.

It was a strange opening forty-five minutes on paper between the familiar opponents, with Denmark boasting the lion’s share of possession (51.2%) and completing more passes over the reigning World Cup champions, but France very much had the run of the green when it came to chance creation, crafting 13 chances to Denmark’s 2 before the half-time interval.

The front-four of Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappé, Ousmane Dembélé, and Antoine Griezmann remained as dangerous as ever but were just a few percentage points shy of finding the final ball or killer chance to put one past Kasper Schmeichel, who was only tested twice despite the healthy amount of shots Les Bleus managed to muster.

France kept knocking in the second half with the European giants having everything but the finished article as chance after chance went begging until the 60th minute when star man Kylian Mbappé finally put France 1-0 up after he found space down the left channel before laying off Theo Hernández whose cut-back found the Paris Saint-Germain talisman with enough space to slot home from close range.

Denmark would respond just seven minutes later, however, when Andreas Christensen nodded home past Hugo Lloris from close range after beating Adrien Rabiot to a loose ball six yards from goal after an in-swinging set piece found the Barcelona defender in enough space to restore parity.

It was a result that France deserved and more as the current holders continue to prove they, for many, are the real tournament favorite and have thus far risen to the top despite a wealth of injury frustration highlighted their World Cup preparations.

With this result, Denmark must now win to get in when they clash with Australia four days from now after the Socceroos earned a narrow 1-0 win over Tunisia earlier today.

France Player Ratings

  • Hugo Lloris (GK): 6.5 – Might feel a bit hard done by the goal but overall the Tottenham keeper performed his duties in goal as you would expect.
  • Jules Koundé (RB): 6.5 – Given the nod over Benjamin Pavard, who started against Australia, and was generally okay and offered a decent overlap at times.
  • Raphaël Varane (CB): 6 – Not his best performance after he was thrust into the XI tonight but building his fitness will be vital for a deep run this tournament.
  • Dayot Upamecano (CB): 7 – His partner against Australia may not have started ut Upamecano remained in the XI and showed why. Dominant in defense and cool under pressure.
  • LB: Thero Hernández (LB): 8 – Not expected to start in Qatar ahead of his big brother, Hernández has been excellent since he has been called upon and provided another assist tonight.
  • Aurélien Tchouaméni (DM): 7 – Dominant at the base of the midfield, the Real Madrid youngster is quickly becoming a vital piece of the Les Bleus puzzle.
  • Adrien Rabiot (CM): 7 – Rabiot continues to take his chances as a starting piece under Deschamps after injuries opened the door to his services.
  • Antoine Griezmann (CAM): 8.5 – An expert performance from Griezmann that saw him run the show in the 10 role once again. An assist was no less than he deserved.
  • Ousmane Dembélé (RW): 7 – A typical effective performance from the Barcelona winger despite being unable to directly affect the scoreline before being replaced by Kingsley Coman.
  • Kylian Mbappé (LW): 8.5 – Another superb outing for Mbappé in a France shirt as his brace puts him joint top of the goalscoring chart and the frontrunner for the golden boot.
  • Olivier Giroud (CF): 6 – Unable to surpass Thierry Henry and still remains joint-top goalscorer all-time for France after a somewhat muted performance.
  • Marcus Thuram (Sub): 6 – Came off the bench for a quiet Olivier Giroud and was equally quiet in his own right during his second cameo of the tournament.
  • Ibrahima Konaté (Sub): 6 – Was fine for the fifteen minutes he received off the bench as Varane looks to build his fitness.
  • Kingsley Coman (Sub): 6.5 – Bright off the bench as a creative spark due to his ability to be direct, and his run led up to Griezmann’s cross for Mbappé’s second.
  • Youssouf Fofana (Sub): N/A – Subbed on in stoppage time.

Denmark Player Ratings

  • Kasper Schmeichel (GK): 7 – Schmeichel put in a good performance on the night despite being beaten twice from close range and can still hold his head high.
  • Joachim Andersen (RCB): 7 – The Crystal Palace defender performed admirably in the back three for Hjulmand’s men and probably deserved something more than a loss on the night.
  • Andreas Christensen (CB): 7 – Nodded home Denmark’s temporary equalizer and defended well on the night overall despite the frustrating result.
  • Victor Nelsson (LCB): 6.5 – A hard performance to gauge on the surface. Nelsson was hardly poor on the night but maybe in certain phases of play he could have defended more astutely.
  • Rasmus Kristensen (RWB): 6.5 – Not a bad day for the Leeds United right-back but France certainly did create quite a few chances during passages of play down his flank.
  • Joakim Mæhle (LWB): 6.5 – Much like Damsgaard, Mæhle has not been as effective as he was during the Euro but he was okay overall.
  • Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (CM): 7 – A performance that Tottenham fans would be familiar with. Efficient in his duties and good with linking the back line to the forward areas.
  • Christian Eriksen (CM): 6.5 – Didn’t drive play or create as much as Denmark would have hoped but he was okay in most respects.
  • Jesper Lindstrøm (RAM): 7 – The highly-touted Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder was effective on the night for Denmark and probably should be viewed as a first-choice option for Hjulmand.
  • Mikkel Damsgaard (LAM): 6.5 – Yet to reach the same performance levels that saw him become one of the darlings of Euro 2020 last summer, but was still okay nevertheless.
  • Andreas Cornelius (CF): 6 – Booked in the first half and managed Denmark’s best goalscoring chance before halftime though his effort thrashed wide of goal.
  • Martin Braithwaite (Sub): 6.5. – Came on and would hit the woodwork during his 45-minute appearance. May have done enough to have earned a start against Australia.
  • Kasper Dolberg (Sub): 6 – Given a shade under 20 minutes to put his stamp on proceedings but was hardly given a chance to do so.
  • Christian Nørgaard (Sub): 6 – Came on with five minutes remaining, so his rating reflects limited contributions.
  • Alexander Bah (Sub): N/A – Subbed on in stoppage time.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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