World Cup 2022: double packer Mbappé propels France to the round of 16

World Cup 2022: double packer Mbappé propels France to the round of 16

2-1 v Denmark

Defending champions France are the first team to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup. Thanks to two goals from Kylian Mbappé, the 1998 and 2018 world champions also won their second group match 2-1 (0-0) against Denmark on Saturday. In front of 42,860 spectators at the 974 stadium in Doha, the Paris Saint-Germain star striker scored in the 61st and 86th minutes. Andreas Christensen equalized in the meantime (68th).

The Danes had been traded as secret favorites ahead of the tournament. After only one point from the first two games, the semi-finalists of the European Championship are now even threatened with elimination in the preliminary round. However, thanks to Australia’s 1-0 victory over Tunisia, Kasper Hjulmand’s men still have progress in their hands. However, they need a win in the final group game against Australia on Wednesday.

Hjulmand reacted to the disappointing 0-0 draw against Tunisia with an unexpected number of changes. He had to replace Thomas Delaney, injured in the knee. On the other hand, he voluntarily left captain Simon Kjaer and two-thirds of his attack outside. Among others, Frankfurt Bundesliga professional Jesper Lindström, who made his debut in the starting XI at a World Cup, benefited.

Although the Danes showed marked improvement, they were clearly inferior to the French even in this improved state. The stats showed 12:2 shots on goal for France in the first half alone. Despite all the individual class of attackers Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappé, Ousmane Dembelé and Olivier Giroud, it took two headers from defenders Raphaël Varane (13th) and Adrien Rabiot (21st) to become truly dangerous.

Giroud catches up with Henry: France’s top scorers

9. Jean-Pierre Papin | 30 goals in 54 games

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1986–1995 (as of November 26, 2022)

9. Fair Fountain | 30 goals in 21 games

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7. Zinedine Zidane | 31 goals in 108 games

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7. Kylian Mbappé I 31 goals in 61 games

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since 2017

6. David Trezeguet | 34 goals in 71 games

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5. Karim Benzema | 37 goals in 97 games

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since 2007

4. Michel Platini | 41 goals in 72 games

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3. Antoine Griezmann | 42 goals in 112 games

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since 2014

1.Olivier Giroud | 51 goals in 116 games

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since 2011

1. Thierry Henry | 51 goals in 123 games

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Nevertheless, the difference in performance between the two teams was so great that in hindsight it seems all the more remarkable that the Danes beat the French twice in the Nations League in June and September this year. By the ball Griezmann, Mbappé and a fault by the former Gladbacher Christensen at the limit of emergency braking: this scene from the 20th minute illustrates the Danish difficulties in controlling the excellent French offensive.

After the break, the Danes grew braver at the start and occupied the world champion in his own half. However, the French did not allow it to last more than a quarter of an hour.

Griezmann missed a big chance in the 60th minute when he unleashed a lone shot at the edge of the penalty area. A minute later, Mbappé made it 1-0 after a one-two with Theo Hernandez.

The 1998 world champions sat in the stands and applauded: Youri Djorkaeff alongside Liliam Thuram, whose son Marcus arrived from Borussia Mönchengladbach in stride. Danish goalkeeper legend Peter Schmeichel, whose son Kasper was also on the pitch, was one place further.

The Schmeichels then celebrated because their team showed an impressive reaction, just like at the start of the second half: just eight minutes after the 0-1, Christensen scored from a corner kicked in by Christian Eriksen and extended by Joachim Andersen.

After that, both teams still had several chances to win: Frankfurt’s Lindstrom (73rd) and substitute Martin Braithwaite (81st) left them behind for Denmark. Aurélien Tchouaméni (78th), Jules Koundé (79th) and Rabiot (80th) rewarded them for France. But the world champion still had Mbappé.

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