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September 22, 2018

France finish top ahead of Denmark after World Cup stalemate

France’s forward KylianMbappe (L) vies with Denmark’s midfielder Thomas Delaney during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group C football match between Denmark and France at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, on 26 June 2018.  Photo:  AFP
France’s forward KylianMbappe (L) vies with Denmark’s midfielder Thomas Delaney during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group C football match between Denmark and France at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, on 26 June 2018.  Photo: AFP

Moscow (Russia) — France secured first place ahead of Denmark in Group C on Tuesday following a 0-0 draw in Moscow that could set up a heavyweight World Cup clash with Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the last 16.
Didier Deschamps’ side dominated possession but struggled to create any clear-cut chances against a determined Denmark, who will likely meet Croatia for a place in the quarter-finals.
France have scored just three times in three games in Russia, including a penalty and an own goal, and it was another disjointed display from one of the title favourites.
They will discover their opponents in the next round later on Tuesday, with Argentina needing to beat Nigeria in Saint Petersburg to stand a chance of qualifying.
Deschamps rested captain Hugo Lloris and Paul Pogba, with the Manchester United midfielder a booking away from suspension, while KylianMbappe was also left out among six changes.
Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, 33, made his first appearance at a major tournament, having been an unused substitute at the last three European Championships and the 2010 World Cup.
After much debate about the video assistant referee (VAR) following further controversy on Monday, it was inevitable any penalty area tussles would prompt strong appeals at the Luzhniki Stadium. —AFP

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