On Saturday night, France will face Denmark in their second Group D match at Stadium 974, and a win would all but guarantee them a spot in the World Cup knockout rounds.
France’s title defence got off to a great start this week with a 4-1 win against Australia, but Tunisia kept Kasper Hjulmand’s team to a scoreless tie.
France vs Denmark Group D Match Preview
Olivier Giroud’s record-equalling brace against Australia on Tuesday may overtake Thierry Henry as France’s all-time goalscorer.
After losing to Craig Goodwin in the first nine minutes, Giroud’s 50th and 51st goals for France and headers from Adrien Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe turned the game around.
By taking advantage of Karim Benzema’s injury, Giroud might overtake Henry and achieve 52 goals for France. France may qualify for the last 16.
If they win and Tunisia and Australia draw, the reigning world champions will top Group D and advance to the knockout rounds.
France might become the first team to win six World Cup finals games since Spain’s golden generation in 2010.
Christian Eriksen, making his first significant tournament appearance for Denmark since his cardiac episode at Euro 2020, displayed some midfield flairs that have made him a hero with Manchester United fans. Still, the Red and Whites’ opener with Tunisia was forgettable.
Tunisia would have felt the most aggrieved after surviving a late VAR review for Yassine Meriah’s handball in one of several rounds, one 0-0 draw.
Hjulmand admits that his squad confronts a “tough” situation in Group D, where they are third, separated from second-placed Tunisia by fair play points. However, they will still be in contention for a top-two finish no matter what happens this weekend.
Denmark may become the second team to draw five straight World Cup matches, but they have kept three clean sheets in their last four games, which is encouraging.
In June, they overcame France 2-1 in the Nations League, and in the 2002 World Cup group stage, they defeated the defending champions 2-0.
France vs Denmark Group D Team News
In the buildup to Goodwin’s goal for Australia on Tuesday, France lost left-back Lucas Hernandez to a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the latest in a string of ailments that began before Deschamps chose his team and have continued during France’s World Cup trip.
Unsurprisingly, the Bayern Munich player will miss the remainder of the World Cup as he undergoes months of recovery. He will be replaced by his brother Theo Hernandez, who played well in his place.
Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate linked up at the defence for Deschamps against the Socceroos, while Raphael Varane was declared fit for a spot on the bench. Kingsley Coman missed Friday’s training session with a hip injury.
Neither Upamecano nor Konate will be happy to lose their starting berths, but with Varane back to full health, the Liverpool man may be the one to be left out.
Similar to what happened to Mexico’s Javier Hernandez, Denmark’s Thomas Delaney, a midfielder for Sevilla, suffered a knee injury during the first half of their match against Tunisia and has been forced to retire from the tournament to begin a month-long recovery.
Hjulmand has no new injury worries heading into Saturday’s game. Still, after Delaney went down with an injury, he may move Eriksen back into a supporting position behind Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and bring in either Mikkel Damsgaard or Jesper Lindstrom to bolster the attack.
The 29-year-old Andreas Cornelius should only be considered for a bench position here with the injury-plagued Yussuf Poulsen after producing one of the worst misses in World Cup history by somehow hitting the post from a yard out against Tunisia.
- France Possible Starting Lineup: Lloris, Varane, Upamecano, T. Hernandez, Pavard, Tchouameni, Dembele, Griezmann, Rabiot, Mbappe, Giroud.
- Denmark Possible Starting Lineup: Andersen, Christensen, Schmeichel, Kjaer, Hojbjerg, Eriksen, Kristensen, Maehle, Dolberg, Damsgaard, Skov Olsen.
France vs Denmark Group D Prediction (2-0)
Many doubted France’s chances of winning the World Cup before the tournament began, but after an impressive opening-day victory, the country’s players feel confident again.
While the Red and Whites should be encouraged by their recent success against France, their lackluster offensive against Tunisia does not bode well for their matchup with the holders. We can predict they will advance to the round of 16 with relative ease.