France vs Denmark predictions: European heavyweights to share the spoils
- France failed to beat Denmark both home and away in the Nations League this year
- Denmark have drawn each of their last four World Cup matches
- Recommended bet: Draw
Victory for France in Saturday’s Group D match at Stadium 974 would see the World Cup holders through to the round of 16 and leave Denmark facing the prospect of a possible early elimination.
France got their title defence off to a blistering start on Tuesday when Olivier Giroud's brace helped Les Bleus come from behind to beat Australia 4-1 at the Al Janoub Stadium.
The Danes were held to a scoreless draw by Tunisia in their opener and manager Kasper Hjulmand admitted they would have to up the tempo against the French.
But the Red and Whites have won their last two meetings with France in all competitions, both in the 2022 Nations League
France will be forced into at least one change where Theo Hernandez is likely to replace his older brother Lucas at left-back in the line-up.
The Bayern Munich man has been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup because of the anterior cruciate knee ligament injury he picked up in the win against Australia.
Les Bleus were already denied the services of several star players before arriving in Qatar, with N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and then Christopher Nkunku all being ruled out.
Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema then suffered a quadriceps injury on the eve of the tournament in perhaps the biggest blow to France's hopes of retaining their title.
Deschamps is reportedly considering another swap on the right-hand side of his defence where Jules Kounde could replace Benjamin Pavard.
Denmark midfielder Thomas Delaney is out of the World Cup after picking up a knee injury during the first half against Tunisia.
Christian Norgaard looks like the most natural fit to partner Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in central midfield, despite Brentford teammate Mikkel Damsgaard being the one Hjulmand brought off the bench on Tuesday.
Norgaard came to the World Cup straight after returning from an injury lay-off and there will be some concerns over whether he can complete a full match against the world champions.
Giroud's two-goal blast against Australia meant he drew level with Thierry Henry as Les Bleus’ joint-record goalscorer on 51.
He could become only the second player aged 36 or over to score in back-to-back World Cup appearances, after Tom Finney for England in 1958
France became the first reigning champion to win their opening World Cup match of a tournament since Brazil in 2006.
Les Bleus have won each of their last five World Cup games (the last nation to win six in a row was Spain in 2010).
Denmark have drawn each of their last four World Cup matches and could now become only the second nation to play out five stalemates in a row on the highest global stage.
None of Denmark’s 30 goals at the World Cup have come from outside the box. No team has scored as many times in the tournament without ever finding the net from beyond the 18-yard line.
France clicked into gear against Australia after suffering an early setback, but the second-half display papered over some of the cracks that have appeared in the holders' structure.
The Danes were decidedly average against Tunisia, but will have no fear of a France team they defeated twice in recent Nations League matches.
Deschamps is struggling to find the right chemistry in his engine room and there are issues at full-back too, which plays into Denmark's hands as they are strong in wide and central midfield areas.
Benzema's ability to find space in tightly-woven defences is something the champions will miss in games such as this when the standard of the opponent is much closer to themselves.
Hjulmand can set his team up to frustrate and potentially nick a draw, available at 5/2 with LiveScore Bet, that would keep group progression within their own hands going into the last game.
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