QATAR: France became the first team to advance to the World Cup round of 16 in Qatar with a narrow 2-1 victory over Denmark on Saturday thanks to two goals from Kylian Mbappe.
Mbappe’s thriller shot catapults France to the victory
After playing a clever on-two with teammate Theo Hernandez, Mbappe scored with a prod into the nets just after the hour mark to give France the lead in the Group D match.
However, Denmark responded with a crushing header from defender Andreas Christensen to tie the score.
The Paris-Saint-Germain striker arose again late to convert a cross from Antoine Griezmann and guaranteed that France remained in their World Cup title defence.
Mbappe now sits on the same level as French ace Zinedine Zidane, on the country’s all-time scoring list with 31 goals.
The outcome on Saturday places France at the top of Group D with six points, three ahead of Australia, which is in second place. On the other hand, Denmark has yet to win a match and has only one point so far for its efforts.
France had the better chances in the first half, with Adrien Rabiot getting close with a header and the Danes having to make several blocks to keep their clean sheet in the World Cup. The first half was tight and tense despite the dominance of France.
It didn’t last long, and Mbappe scored in the 61st minute to give France the lead. He scored with a bouncer first time from Hernandez’s clever pull-back to cap off a fantastic, fast French counter.
Christensen equalized for the Danes seven minutes later by sneaking behind the French defences and stooping to head home. Christen is renowned for always being a threat from set pieces.
Rabiot missed a spectacular volley in the 80th minute. A minute later, substitute Martin Braithwaite missed a first-time effort just wide of the near post. Neither team seemed satisfied with a draw.
Mbappe popped up at the far post in the 86th minute to cushion home a close-range cross from Griezmann to restore the lead and send the traveling French fans into raptures.
Denmark went all out to get a second goal and left a lot of space at the back. However, their late attacks against a team they beat twice in the last Nations League campaign lacked meticulousness, and the French held on for the win that got them through.