France could seal qualification for the knockout phase with another victory, while Denmark come into the clash under immense pressure.

France could seal early qualification to the knockout phases with a victory over Denmark, but this will be a different test from what Australia could muster. The Aussies were no match to Didier Deschamps’s attacking outfit, despite conceding an early goal in the game.

Craig Goodwin’s early strike got cancelled out by Adrien Rabiot, who assisted the second. Olivier Giroud scored a double to level with Thierry Henry as France’s all-time leading goalscorer, while Kylian Mbappe also got on the scoresheet.

That win puts France in a commanding position in Group D, especially after Tunisia and Denmark shared the spoils in their opener. A win for the Les Bleus would guarantee them passage into the next round, while they will have to wait until the final matchday to seal the top spot.

As France look to maintain their dominance, Denmark are fighting to stay relevant in this World Cup. After a goalless draw against Tunisia to begin their campaign. That result differed from how Kasper Hjulmand might have wished to start, considering they were favourites over Tunisia.

Tunisia were more aggrieved not to have secured a win, having had Denmark in their grip for the last part of the game. The Danes face a complicated situation in Group D, which could ease with a victory over France. They will still have a chance to qualify, irrespective of the outcome of their second clash.

Denmark need to arrest their slump in World Cup games and produce a performance for the ages. While France enter this clash as clear favourites, Denmark have the quality to disrupt their opponents.

Team News & Tactics

France

The early injury to Lucas Hernandez rocked France. He suffered a rupture of his ACL. The defender will miss the World Cup and potentially the entire season. Theo Hernandez replaced his brother and should continue at left-back for the Denmark game.

Kingsley Coman is also a doubt, following a hip issue in training, which may rule him out of the next game. Raphael Varane was fit to feature on the bench, although he may not start yet for France. Deschamps is likely to continue with Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate.

Besides Lucas Hernandez, France will look similar to the Australian game. Aurelien Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot will continue in central midfield, while the attacking setup will remain intact. The focus will remain on Mbappe and Giroud, with the latter eyeing the goal that would make him France’s top goalscorer of all time.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Pavard, Konate, Upamecano, Theo Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot; Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud

Denmark

Like France, Denmark also faced the wrath of the injury gods after key midfielder Thomas Delaney suffered a knee injury. He has since withdrawn from the World Cup squad. Denmark have quality replacements in place and will continue with their defensive style ahead of the clash with the World Champions.

Mikkel Damsgaard will come into the team in place of Delaney, while Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg will take over the holding midfield role. Damsgaard could help share the creative burden from Christian Eriksen, as Denmark will be desperate to get off the mark.

Denmark will continue with a back three of Joachim Andersen, Simon Kjaer, and Andreas Christensen. Rasmus Kristensen and Joakim Maehle will feature as the wing-backs against France.

A two-prone attacking frontline consisting of Andreas Skov Olsen and Kasper Dolberg will take shape. The forwards will be hoping for better service from Eriksen & co. from midfield. Denmark will have the luxury of calling upon Yussuf Poulsen and Andreas Cornelius off the bench if needed.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Schmeichel; Andersen, Kjaer, Christensen; Kristensen, Damsgaard, Hojbjerg, Eriksen, Maehle; Skov Olsen, Dolberg

Key Stats

  • France have won their last five matches in the FIFA World Cup.
  • France have won only two of their last six games in all competitions.
  • France could become the next team to win six World Cup games in a row, a feat last achieved by Spain in 2010.
  • Denmark have drawn their last four matches in the FIFA World Cup.
  • Denmark have won three and lost two from their last six games across all competitions.

Player to Watch

Olivier Giroud

The Australia game had two significant points for Giroud, who broke his World Cup duck and levelled up with Henry in France’s all-time list. The Denmark clash represents a unique opportunity for the AC Milan striker to get ahead of the Arsenal great and even help France into the next round.

After a slow start against Australia, Giroud got in on the act and provided a clinical presence inside the penalty box. With the veteran striker leading the line and the attacking players around him, France have a great chance against Denmark.

Prediction

France 3-1 Denmark

France are under some pressure but not as much as Denmark coming into this game. Didier Deschamps and his men have a terrific chance to ease the pressure and, with it, also allow rest to key players ahead of the third group game. Les Bleus remain the overwhelming favourites against the Danes.

Denmark can hurt the top teams, including France. Their defensive resilience would be crucial to their chances against the reigning champions. However, the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud will prove difficult for the Danish defence to handle. France could score many goals towards taking all three points.

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