Doha, Nov 26 (EFE).- Defending champions France became the first team at World Cup 2022 to book their spot in the knockout stage, defeating Denmark 2-1 here Saturday on a brace by Kylian Mbappe.
With 6 points from two matches, Les Bleus are virtually assured of advancing as the Group D winners, while Australia (3 points), Denmark and Tunisia – each on 1 point – will be vying for second place in the final group stage matches.
Australia can reach the round-of-16 with a draw against Denmark, who need to beat the Socceroos to avoid elimination. Likewise, Tunisia would need a win over France to survive.
France were by far the more threatening side in the first half at Doha’s Stadium 974, but Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichel denied Adrien Rabiot with a great stop in the 22nd minute and steered away a shot from Antoine Griezmann 10 minutes later and the first half ended 0-0.
Griezmann fired over the cross-bar at the hour mark, two minutes before Mbappe beat Schmeichel to make it 1-0 France.
Bloodied but unbowed, Denmark battled back to make it 1-1 in the 68th minute courtesy of Andreas Christensen.
France keeper Hugo Lloris, who had had little to do, proved equal to the challenge when Jesper Lindstrom blasted away from 11 yards in the 73rd.
The contest was deadlocked 1-1 with four minutes left in regulation when a cross from Griezmann found Mbappe and the Paris Saint-Germain star put France ahead to stay with his third goal of the tournament.
Mbappe was the revelation of the 2018 World Cup, contributing four goals to France’s triumphant run. Still only 23, he has 30 goals as an international, 14 of them in his last 12 appearances.