Wednesday Feb 1, 2023
Wednesday Feb 1, 2023

Mbappe scores 2, France reaches knockout stage


Nepalnews
AP
2022 Nov 27, 7:54, Qatar
France's Kylian Mbappe, right, celebrates with France's Antoine Griezmann after scoring his sides first goal during the World Cup group D soccer match between France and Denmark, at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo)

France advanced, and Kylian Mbappe got them there.

The French became the first defending champions to reach the round of 16 at the World Cup since Brazil in 2006, beating Denmark 2-1 Saturday with Mbappe scoring both goals.

Mbappe put his team in front in the 61st minute and then scored the winner with his right thigh in the 86th as Les Bleus became the first team at this year’s tournament to advance from the group stage.

The France forward swapped passes with Theo Hernandez down the left flank and poked the ball past Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel for the first goal. He then jumped acrobatically to guide in the second after a cross from Antoine Griezmann — who adapted well in a midfield role and provided his 26th assist for the national team.

Denmark defender Andreas Christensen equalized for his team with a header in the 68th.

Mbappe scored four goals when France won the World Cup four years ago, including one in the final. He now has 31 goals for France, moving him one ahead of Just Fontaine — the all-time leading scorer at a single World Cup with 13 goals at the 1958 tournament.

France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the World Cup group D soccer match between France and Denmark, at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo)
France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the World Cup group D soccer match between France and Denmark, at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo)

He joined another France great, playmaker Zinedine Zidane, with 31 goals. Zidane scored twice in the final when France won its first World Cup against Brazil in 1998 and one goal when Les Bleus lost in the 2006 final to Italy on penalty kicks.

France beat Australia 4-1 in its opening game while the Danes drew 0-0 with Tunisia. The Aussies beat Tunisia 1-0 earlier Saturday.

No other defending champion had made it out of the group stage since 2002 champion Brazil managed to advance four years later. Italy, Spain and Germany all were eliminated early four years after winning their titles.

The first time the French won the World Cup, they also went out early four years later.

With Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema missing from the tournament with a leg injury, Mbappe has taken charge. He has 14 goals in his past 12 games for France, including three so far in Qatar.

The Danes beat France twice this year in the Nations League but looked tame in attack at Stadium 974 — on the rare occasions they even got near France’s penalty area.

France's Kylian Mbappe scores past Denmark's goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel his side's second goal during the World Cup group D soccer match between France and Denmark, at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo)
France's Kylian Mbappe scores past Denmark's goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel his side's second goal during the World Cup group D soccer match between France and Denmark, at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo)

VARANE’S RETURN

Central defender Raphael Varane returned to France’s defense for his first game since sustaining a hamstring injury playing for Manchester United on Oct. 11. The 2018 World Cup winner made his 88th international appearance and played 75 minutes before being replaced.

THURAM’S LEGACY

Forward Marcus Thuram came on in the second half as his father, Lilian Thuram, watched from the stands. The elder Thuram was a standout defender who helped France win its first World Cup in 1998.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The final Group D games are scheduled for Wednesday, when France will play Tunisia and Australia will face Denmark.

READ ALSO:

World Cup knockout stage France Denmark Kylian Mbappe
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