France v Denmark
France made a successful start to their 2022 World Cup campaign as they defeated Australia 4-1.
Les Bleus now face a far sterner test against Denmark, against who they do not have a strong recent record. Indeed, they lost both Nations League clashes against this opponent earlier this year, while in 2018 they were held to a scoreless draw in the group stages by this opponent.
In addition, the injury headaches for Didier Deschamps continue to mount. After losing Presnel Kimpembe, Christopher Nkunku and Karim Benzema on the eve of the tournament, Theo Hernandez has returned to Bayern Munich after rupturing his ACL, ending his tournament and very probably his season.
Denmark delivered a disappointing performance in their opening match against Tunisia, and a 0-0 draw was not the way the country hoped nor expected to start the tournament. The Danish team is now under pressure going up against France, the group favourites, and it should be interesting to see how they approach this fixture.
Going into the tournament there was concern about the fitness and sharpness of several Danish key players, and these concerns proved to be legitimate against Tunisia. The Danish team was far from what we saw during the Euro, and it was especially poor offensively. During the 90 minutes, they only created one big chance, which Andreas Cornelius squandered.
Denmark surprised many by taking a defensive approach to the opening fixture with three centerbacks and two holding midfielders. Against a stronger French team, Kasper Hjulmand is expected to go with the same formation, although it does weaken the offensive opportunities.
Unfortunately, Denmark suffered the loss of Sevilla midfielder Thomas Delaney against Tunisia. He has left Qatar with a knee injury. He is likely to be replaced by either Christian Nørgaard or Mathias Jensen, both from Brentford. Nørgaard is the superior player defensively, but he lacks playing time due to injuries. Against Tunisia Hjulmand opted for Jensen to replace Delaney, but this was also against a weaker opponent. We expect Nørgaard to get the start against France Saturday.
Denmark defeated France twice in the Nations League, but they should struggle in this one. The expectations and morale are low after the disappointing opening match, and bettors should thus look at a France victory when placing their bets.
Over the course of France’s last 10 games, Griezmann has mustered four shots on target from outside the box. Only Kylian Mbappe with five has more. However, the Atletico Madrid player’s prospects of getting an effort on goal in this game were boosted by an Mbappe free kick that went miles over the top against Australia.
The PSG player is campaigning to be put on more set pieces, but with the quality that Griezmann has in these situations, that audition suggests that the Spain-based star should at least get the first crack against Denmark. Expect him to do a lot better.
Christian Eriksen was Denmark’s most dangerous player against Tunisia. He started the game on the wing, but after Delaney’s injury, he was moved centrally, and his performance improved significantly. He had one shot on target in that game, a great finish from the distance, and he should continue being lethal against France.
There is a lot of uncertainty about who Hjulmand will field against France after the weak performance against Tunisia, with both Mikkel Damsgaard and Jesper Lindstrøm being possible new additions to the starting line-up, but there are no question marks about Eriksen’s position on the team. He is certain to start, and we expect him to start centrally as well, which will put him in more dangerous positions.
Furthermore, the Manchester United star is in charge of all Danish set pieces, so he has a chance of adding more shots on target from free kicks and potentially even penalties.
The Danish defense has a huge task ahead of them, going up against the French offense. One of the players with the most difficulties is right-back Rasmus Nissen Kristensen who will be up against Kylian Mbappé.
Nissen Kristensen is a passionate player, known for his aggressive tackles. In the Premier League, he has been booked four times and racked up 15 fouls in 12 appearances for Leeds, and he was also booked against Tunisia.
But these opponents are nothing compared to a formidable French side known for moving the ball forward quickly. And going directly up against Mbappé can be a death sentence for most defenders. Nissen Kristensen will likely need to dig into his bag of dirty tricks now and then to stop the PSG star and I expect him to commit a couple of fouls.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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