World Cup: Mbappe sends France into round of 16 after 2-1 win over Denmark

Football Soccer - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group D - France v Denmark - 974 Stadium, Doha, Qatar - November 26, 2022 Kylian Mbappe of France celebrates his second goal REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

Kylian Mbappe of France celebrates scoring his second goal against Denmark at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar on November 26, 2022. (REUTERS)

DOHA – Kylian Mbappe crowned an exhilarating individual performance with two goals in the second half to make the French champions the first team to reach the final round of 16 of the World Cup as they beat Denmark 2-1 in the final. clash in Group D at Stadium 974 on Saturday.

Mbappe scored to help France lead the table with 6 points three before Australiathe team had beaten Tunisia 1-0 earlier in the day, with the Danes and Tunisians both by one point.

“The first goal has been achieved,” France coach Didier Deschamps said of their level in a post-match television interview. “This group is strong, united and wants to achieve great things.”

France meets Tunisia and Denmark meets the Socceroos in the final round on Wednesday, with Denmark needing a win to progress.

Having lost twice to Denmark in the recent Nations League campaign, France started cautiously. But it wasn’t long before they realized that there were opportunities to be had when using the Danish full-backs.

Ousmane Dembele tormented Joakim Maehle and a wave of excitement swept through the stadium, made from 974 recycled shipping containers, every time Mbappe faced off against Rasmus Kristensen on the other side.

The first half saw France enjoy better chances as Adrien Rabiot headed home and Denmark were forced to make some final saves, but Denmark closed in with Andreas Cornelius’ shot. deviate from the vertical column.

Their tenacious defense didn’t last long and Mbappe put France ahead in the 61st minute, helping France to counterattack at high speed with a bouncing first shot from Theo Hernandez’s clever pull-back. .

Always a danger from set pieces, defender Andreas Christensen leveled Denmark seven minutes later, breaking through behind the defense and scoring Denmark’s first goal.

Neither side was pleased with the draw and Rabiot made a spectacular volley in the 80th minute, and a minute later the Danish substitute, Martin Braithwaite, made his first shot wide of the post. near the.

The match looked set to end in a stalemate until Mbappe appeared in the 86th minute in the far corner to cushion Antoine Griezmann’s pass from close range to restore the lead, leaving the French fans intoxicated. passionate about.

Denmark pushed everything forward in search of a second equalizer, leaving plenty of space behind, but their late strikes lacked precision and the French managed to win to help them. overcome.

“It’s the little things again,” frustrated Kasper Hjulmand told Denmark’s TV2. “We were hoping that we could finish the game, it seemed like the game went cold a little bit, but those are just the little things.”

Mbappe’s brace brought his international tally to 31 in 61 games for France, putting the 23-year-old on par with Zinedine Zidane and 20 behind Olivier Giroud and Thierry Henry, who both scored. for France.

“What can I say, I have said it before – he is a special player. He has the ability to be decisive, stand out from the crowd and make the difference in games,” Deschamps said of his goalscoring star.

“We now have peace of mind going into the third game as we have earned our place in the last 16 and we hope to be top of the group,” he added.

The French will face one of the teams in Group C – Poland, Saudi Arabia, Mexico or Argentina – in the round of 16.

“We are very competitive and have a great team spirit, both on and off the pitch, and we will need that for what lies ahead,” said Deschamps.


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