France aim to advance to secure the top spot in Group C with a victory over Christian Eriksen and Denmark.
Denmark will view this match against France as a must-win, seeing as their second place spot in Group C is far from secured. Should Denmark fall to Les Blous and Australia defeat Peru, Age Hareide’s men will miss out on the Round of 16 to Bert van Marwijk’s Australian squad. They will hope that France rests some key players in preparation for the tournament rather than field the squad that defeated Australia 2-1 and Peru 1-0.
Denmark will be eager to tie or win this match for many reasons: the obvious being a spot in the Round of 16, which they haven’t accomplished since 2002. But if they can hold off and defeat Didier Deschamp’s squad, they will also leap-frog France for the top spot in the group and stave off the Australian side that drew them 1-1. All of this is on the line against a French squad seemingly taking it easy before the next round begins. If Denmark can cut down on mistakes in the midfield and contain the counterattack, they should have a chance to steal three points on Wednesday. The only hiccup in the plan will be the absence of two key players: Yussof Poulsen, who scored against Peru and is suspended for yellow cards, and midfielder William Kvist, who suffered a punctured lung against Peru.
Undefeated to this point, France looks to be on a roll. Despite not needing a victory over Denmark, it is likely that France’s deep squad will still be a formidable opponent, with the likes of Ousmane Dembele and Thomas Lemar looking to start. Despite having Pogba and Mbappe on the bench, this French side is a dangerous attacking squad with Antione Griezman likely remaining at striker in front of a midfield orchestrated by Ngolo Kante.
Christian Eriksen and Denmark will have to embrace their underdog role if they wish to upset Les Blous and advance on. The shifting of the lineup by Deschamps is nothing new, as the manager made six changes between his 2nd and 3rd group stage matches in 2014 and five changes at the European Championships in 2016. It remains to be seen which changes he will make and how they will pay off.
Denmark manager Age Hereide called this France squad “nothing special” and stated that he “didn’t believe in this team” in an earlier interview. This will surely be on the mind of the French, who would love nothing more than to prove the opposing manager wrong. Hereide will hope that his players will walk for his preemptive talk.