N'Golo Kante (L) and Christian Eriksen (R)
N'Golo Kante (L) and Christian Eriksen (R)

France, Denmark progress despite goalless stalemate

ANI | Updated: Jun 26, 2018 23:07 IST

Moscow [Russia], June 26 (ANI): France and Denmark progressed into the Round-of-16 after they played the first goalless draw at the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Tuesday.
France manager Didier Deschamps, managing Les Blues for a landmark 79th game, equalling Raymond Domenech's record, made six changes to his side which dominated possession of the ball but looked dull for the most part of the game that featured few chances.
Paul Pogba, Hugo Lloris, Kylian Mbappe started the game on the bench with an eye on the knockout rounds, a potential Round-of-16 clash with Argentina also on the cards.
Deschamps handed debuts to centre-back Prinsel Kimpembe and goalie Steve Mandanda, with the latter becoming the oldest French debutant at a World Cup Finals.
Denmark, like France, lacked penetration and seemed content with the 0-0 result as they needed just a point to ensure they progress into the knockout rounds for the first time since 2002, although it did not matter in the end with Peru inflicting a 2-0 loss on Australia.
The first half saw neither team creating clear opportunities to take the lead.
Christian Eriksen failed to meet a decent low-cross into the penalty box from striker Andreas Cornelius at the 29th-minute mark in what was the best chance of the game till that point.
Soon after, Ousmane Dembele did well to wriggle out a little space for himself on the edge of the box, however only managing to curl his effort wide.
The second half started on the same note, with France dominating possession sans any real threat, which arrived from an Eriksen free kick 10 minutes into proceedings.
The Tottenham Hotspurs midfielder's shot was spilt by Mandanda, although he retrieved the ball before Cornelius could reach it for an easy tap-in.
Kasper Schmeichel was given his first real test at the 82nd-minute mark when substitute Nabil Fekir drove in a low shot from just outside the box, with the Leicester City keeper reacting well to punch it wide.
Tonight's Group D fixtures will decide both France and Denmark's next opponents, with three teams in the group still in with a chance to grab the second qualifying place.
Croatia are sitting pretty at the top of Group D, and guaranteed to qualify but can still finish second if they are beaten by Iceland and Nigeria can dispatch Argentina by a big scoreline. (ANI)