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Denmark 0-0 France: French top Group C as Denmark also qualify

France and Denmark played out a dour 0-0 draw, helping both sides achieve their aim
France and Denmark played out a dour 0-0 draw, helping both sides achieve their aim

France topped Group C while Denmark secured qualification to the last 16 of the World Cup with a dour 0-0 draw on Tuesday.

With Peru beating Australia in the other final Group C game, neither side overexerted themselves in Nizhny Novgorod, with the crowd regularly jeering the pedestrian nature of play.

The result brought the first goalless draw of the tournament in the 37th game, and France will now play their last 16 game in Kazan on Saturday against the second-placed side in Group D.

Mathias Jorgensen battles for possession with N'Golo Kante
Mathias Jorgensen battles for possession with N’Golo Kante

Player ratings

Denmark: Schmeichel (6), Kjaer (6), Christensen(6), Jorgensen (5), Dalsgaard (6), Stryger (6), Delaney (5), Eriksen (6), Braithwaite (6), Cornelius (5), Sisto (5).

Subs: Fischer (5), Dolberg (5), Lerager (NA)

France: Mandanda (5), Kimpembe (5), Varane (6), Sidibe (4), Hernandez (5), Kante (5), Nzonzi (5), Griezmann (5), Lemar (4), Giroud (5), Dembele (5).

Subs: Mendy (5), Fekir (5), Mbappe (NA)

Man of the match: Martin Braithwaite

Denmark are likely to face Croatia – favourites to top Group D – on Sunday in Nizhny.

Defences were on top during a first half with just one shot on target, Antoine Griezmann’s curling effort collected easily by Kasper Schmeichel.

Christian Eriksen did have a chance at the other end from Andreas Cornelius’ centre, but Lucas Hernandez and Steve Mandanda combined to snuff it out from 12 yards.

The second half followed a similar trend initially as Eriksen sprayed a half-volley a yard wide from the edge of the box, while sub Nabil Fekir hit the side-netting from an angle for France.

Team news

Didier Deschamps has made six changes to the France side that beat Peru last time out. Mandanda replaces Lloris in goal, while Kimpembe and Sidibe replace Pavard and Umtiti in defence.Nzonzi, Lemar and Dembele also come in for Pogba, Matuidi and Mbappe.

Mathias Jorgensson, Braithwaite and Cornelius come in for Denmark to replace Schone, Poulsen and Nicolai Jorgensen.

Raphael Varane (right) and Simon Kjaer in action during the 0-0 draw
Raphael Varane (right) and Simon Kjaer in action during the 0-0 draw

Fekir, whose move to Liverpool from Lyon broke down earlier this summer, saw his curling effort bound for the far corner beaten away by Schmeichel.

But the game was a victim of circumstance, with Peru going 2-0 up against Australia early in the second half.

That meant Denmark were all but guaranteed a second-place finish, but remained unwilling to force a winner to finish top.

The jeers at the full-time whistle from the frustrated Nizhny crowd were abundantly clear, but Denmark celebrated the result and progression to the knockout stage for the first time since 2002.

Man of the match – Martin Braithwaite

This award should really be going to the fans in Nizhny for sitting through the 90 minutes without leaving (though I’m sure a handful did…), but the Middlesbrough man did at least show some energy for Denmark in the opening stages.

He kept running in the second half and attempting to make space and stretch France’s backline, but Denmark’s midfielders were happier to sit without the ball and pass laterally with it.

Opta stats

  • France have gone unbeaten in the group stage in consecutive World Cup tournaments for the first time (P3 W2 D1 in 2014 and 2018).
  • Since their defeat to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final, France have only lost one of their last 13 games in competitive action (W9 D3).
  • This was the first 0-0 of the 2018 World Cup, making it the longest wait from the start of a single tournament for one – there had been 36 games played prior to today.
  • Denmark and France have drawn an international meeting for the first time since September 1976 (1-1), with this being just the second draw in 16 total meetings.
  • This was Didier Deschamps’ 79th game in charge of France, equalling Raymond Domenech’s record with the national team.
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