Kylian Mbappé showcased his brilliance on the big stage once again, with his two goals guiding France to a group-sealing 2-1 victory over Denmark.
It took the French a while to break away from their opposition. A strong first half saw them fire 13 shots at Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, however, it wasn’t until the 61st minute that the game got going.
Mbappé linked up brilliantly with left-back Theo Hernández, sending him the ball before receiving back to convert a remarkable finish through two Danish defenders. This was the attacking play we had been seeing all game from the French outfit, and it was a goal that was well deserved at that stage.
Denmark did give France a scare seven minutes later, with centre-back Andreas Christensen lowering his head to force the ball into the back of the net. However, France remained hungry, as Mbappé calmly converted an Antoine Griezmann cross in the 86th minute to close out the win.
Netting his sixth and seventh World Cup goals during the game, Mbappé now sits level with Luis Suárez on the all-time goalscoring leaderboard at the tournament, and just one behind the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Diego Maradona. At just 23 years of age, he is sure to eclipse the numbers of those players sooner rather than later.
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The reigning trophy holders will take great confidence out of this win, knowing that the depth of their squad is still capable of dominating games of football in the way that they did here. This is especially true given the praise that Denmark has received in recent years for the way they play at international level.
Injuries to key players in the lead-up to the tournament, including Ballon D’Or winner Karim Benzema, along with midfield duo N’Golo Kanté, and Paul Pogba forced some fans to cast doubt over their hopes. However, France has now proven that it still has as good a chance as anyone to claim what would be back-to-back World Cups.
Having now secured progression to the Round of 16, and with a goal difference large enough for us to assume they have claimed first place, Les Bleus can now take an easier approach in their final group game against Tunisia.
However, Denmark has it all to play for as they take on an Australian side that will carry great confidence into the game following a historic 1-0 win over Tunisia. A draw won’t be enough for the Danes to claim a place in the knockout stages, so we can expect the Socceroos to defend for their lives.
Denmark is under much more pressure heading into the contest and with Australia carrying some momentum into the game, it is sure to be a brilliant night of football.
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