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FIFA 2022: Mbappe's double goal against Denmark makes France first team into final 16

FIFA 2022: Mbappes double goal against Denmark makes France first team into final 16

Doha: Holders France defeated Denmark 2-1 on Saturday, thanks to a late winner from Kylian Mbappe, who scored twice, becoming the first team to advance to the round of 16.

A strong French team knew that a second victory in as many Group D games would advance them to the knockout round, and they were more than deserving of the advantage Mbappe gave them by scoring the game's first goal at Stadium 974 just after the hour mark.

Andreas Christensen quickly equalised for the Danes, though, and Les Bleus needed Mbappe to deliver once more in the 86th minute when he converted Antoine Griezmann's cross to finally break the Danish defence, AFP reported.

Mbappe has seven goals in nine World Cup appearances after scoring one against Australia and four goals during France's successful 2018 campaign.

Now, Didier Deschamps' team has the luxury of heading into their last group match against Tunisia knowing that even a draw will secure them first place and even a defeat may not prevent France from doing so.

France wasted more chances to score this time around compared to their 4-1 thrashing of Australia in their first game in Qatar, but at least they held their own against opponents who had previously given them trouble.

They were the reigning champions when a loss to the Danes eliminated them from the World Cup in 2002, and the teams met in 2018 for the first goalless draw.

Kasper Hjulmand's team just defeated France at home and away in this year's Nations League, and it appeared that Deschamps had taken note of the lessons from those two games.

France performed far better in this encounter, which was played in a pop-up stadium constructed of shipping containers on Doha's waterfront, compared to their performance in Copenhagen in September.

Deschamps made three changes to his back four: Raphael Varane was brought in for his first game in over a month, and Theo Hernandez started at left-back in place of his injured older brother Lucas.

But the Australian game had little effect on the French offensive strategy.

If Olivier Giroud grabbed the spotlight previously, Ousmane Dembele was electrifying at moments on the right, Griezmann was outstanding in an advanced midfield position, and Mbappe was the difference-maker in this match.

The Euro 2020 semifinalists were fortunate to be tied at halftime because France's pace, power, and passing were all too quick for them.

When Mbappe was brought down by Christensen in the 19th minute after sprinting onto a magnificent through ball from Griezmann, there were several French calls for a red card, but the Danish defender only received a yellow card.

The finest chances for the holders in the first half came from headers by Varane and Adrien Rabiot, but just before the hour mark, Mbappe turned away from Joachim Andersen and sprinted away, signalling the upcoming goal.

Kasper Schmeichel blocked his shot, and Griezmann missed a fantastic opportunity shortly after, but Mbappe did score in the 61st minute.

The superstar for Paris Saint-Germain skillfully teamed up with Hernandez on the left before responding to his teammate's cutback with a shot that beat Schmeichel thanks to a deflection off Christensen.

Midway through the second half, Andersen, a fellow defender, nodded down a corner, and Christensen headed in to bring Denmark, who had not contributed much, to parity.

As Denmark attempted to completely turn the game on its head, Hugo Lloris was forced to make a crucial save to stop Jesper Lindstrom from scoring and Martin Braithwaite grazed the post.

Even though France only had themselves to blame for not making use of their opportunities more, that would still have been incredibly harsh for them.

With only four minutes remaining, Mbappe, though, proved unstoppable as he snuck in front of Rasmus Kristensen at the back post and met Griezmann's cross with his thigh for his 31st international goal.

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TAGS:Mbappe France Denmark Qatar FIFA 2022 
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