Mbappé’s double sends France to the last 16 of the World Cup

Kylian Mbappe scored twice as defending champions France cruised to a narrow 2-1 win over Denmark on Saturday to become the first team to advance to the World Cup round of 16 in Qatar.

Mbappé put France ahead in the Group D clash just after the hour mark with a stinging shot after playing a clever brace with teammate Theo Hernández, but Denmark responded with a powerful header from defender Andreas Christensen to level the score.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward re-emerged late to convert an Antoine Griezmann cross to ensure France remain flawless as they continue their World Cup title defense. Mbappe has now scored 31 goals for France, putting him level with legend Zinedine Zidane on the country’s all-time goalscoring list.

Saturday’s result leaves France atop Group D with six points, three ahead of second-place Australia, while Denmark is yet to claim its first win with just one point after two games.

A tight and tense first half saw France enjoy the best chances as Adrien Rabiot came close with a header and the Danes were forced to make a series of last-minute blocks to keep their clean sheet intact.

It was not to last and Mbappe put the French ahead on 61 minutes, capping off a superb high-speed French counter-attack with a first-half rebound from a clever backhand from Hernandez.

Always a danger from set pieces, Christensen equalized the Danes seven minutes later, slipping behind the defense and ducking for a header.

Neither team seemed happy with the equalizer and Rabiot fired a spectacular volley on 80 minutes, and a minute later, substitute Martin Braithwaite fired a shot from his own first chance just wide of the near post.

The game looked to end in a stalemate until Mbappé appeared in the 86th minute at the far post to muffle Griezmann’s cross from close range to restore the lead and send the traveling French fans into raptures.

Denmark pushed everything forward for a second equalizing goal, leaving acres of space behind, but their late attacks against a team they beat twice in the recent Nations League campaign lacked precision and the French held on. to the victory that placed them.

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