France and Denmark both qualified for the last 16 of the World Cup following a dull 0-0 draw at the Luzhniki Stadium. Despite a penalty shout from Lucas Hernandez, the scores finish level.
Both sides will learn their next opponents later in the day, after Group D finishes. However, this stage represents a successful start for both the French, who top the group, and the Danes.
The 81,000 capacity venue will host a semi-final and the final itself, but everyone will hope that both are much more entertaining than the drab spectacle today.
Lucas Hernandez, France Draw With Denmark
After an open first half hour, the game settled into a repetitive and dreary pattern, with both sides more than aware that avoiding defeat would see them reach the next round.
France’s Lucas Hernandez was brought down in the box by opposing full-back Henrik Dalsgaard after 15 minutes, but penalty (and VAR) appeals were waved away by Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci. Olivier Giroud’s weak shot in the aftermath was tipped over by Danish goalkeeper Kaspar Schmeichel.
Down the other end, Schmeichel’s counterpart Steve Mandanda had to be alert to keep out the best player on the pitch in Christian Eriksen. Standing in for the rested Hugo Lloris, Mandanda was sharp off his line to smother at the feet of the Dane who had broken through following a swift counter-attack.
The second half was tepid at best and neither side seemed to break a sweat. Meanwhile, the French pumped in a series of aimless crosses, broken up only by a low Nabil Fekir shot that was comfortably pushed away by Schmeichel with eight minutes to play.
Denmark (4-3-3) Schmeichel; Dalsgaard, Kjaer, Christensen, Larsen; M Jorgensen, Eriksen, Delaney (Lerager, 90); Braithwaite, Sisto (Fischer, 60), Cornelius (Dolberg, 75).
France (4-2-3-1) Mandanda; Sidibe, Varane, Kimpembe, Hernandez (Mendy, 50); N’Zonzi, Kante; Dembele (Mbappe, 78), Griezmann (Fekir, 69), Lemar; Giroud.
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