France vs Denmark: Preview and Prediction￼
France will come into this competition with the tag of ‘defending champions’. After finishing sixth overall in the first edition, Les Bleus lifted this title back in the 2021-22 edition. They defeated Belgium in the semi-finals, before knocking out Spain in the finals.
On the other hand, Denmark did not have a great first season back in 2018-19, as their overall rank was as low as 15th. However, they did well last time out to finish seventh overall. Though it was Belgium who topped their group, Kasper Hjulmand’s men deserve praise for finishing above England.
Les Bleus will be in seventh heaven coming into this fixture, as they have won all of their last seven matches. Didier Deschamps’ men last played a couple of friendlies against African opponents – Ivory Coast and South Africa, and they won both matches quite easily.
As for their five matches prior to that, they played the semi-finals and final of the 2021-22 UEFA Nations League against Belgium and Spain respectively, which we have already spoken about. Besides that, they played three 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification matches – twice against Finland and once against Kazakhstan, and won each of those games without breaking a sweat.
On the other hand, the Red and Whites have also done fairly well in their recent fixtures, but their records are not as impressive and flawless as their opponents’. Hjulmand’s team won their last friendly against Serbia by a comprehensive margin of 3-0, but prior to that, they were handed a 4-2 defeat by the Netherlands.
Their last 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification match ended with a 2-0 defeat against Scotland, but it was nothing more than a dead rubber as they had already booked their seats to Qatar by then. That being said, Denmark won six matches on the trot before the Scotland defeat – beating the Faroe Islands twice and getting the better of Scotland, Israel, Moldova and Austria on one occasion each.
Head to Head Record
France clearly holds the upper hand when it comes to head-to-head records. Out of the 14 meetings between these two sides, they have won eight games while Denmark emerged victorious on four occasions, with a couple of matches ending in stalemates. One such draw was played out in the last meeting between these two teams, back in 2018 in the FIFA World Cup, which produced a 0-0 stalemate.
Deschamps will have the luxury of picking his starting XI from a nearly full-strength squad, as every French player is fit barring midfielder Paul Pogba. The veteran manager is expected to set his team up in a 4-3-3 formation.
With Hugo Lloris in goal, Les Bleus are likely to boast of a strong four-man backline featuring Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Presnel Kimpembe and Lucas Hernandez. N’Golo Kante will be the pivot in the middle of the park, with Aurelien Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot alongside him. While France’s team looks solid so far, it this their three-man attacking unit of Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe, which makes them truly world-class.
Like his French counterpart, Hjulmand will also have a fairly fit squad to pick his strongest team from, with central defender Simon Kjaer being the lone absentee. The Red and Whites are expected to line up in a similar 4-3-3 formation in this fixture.
Daniel Wass, Andreas Christensen, Jannik Vestergaard and Joachim Maehle are expected to form the backline, with Kasper Schmeichel guarding the goal. The three-man midfield is likely to feature Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Thomas Delaney and Christian Eriksen, whilst youngster Andreas Skov Olsen is likely to get a chance in attack alongside Kasper Dolberg and Yussuf Yurary Poulsen.
Predicted Starting Lineups
France (4-3-3): Hugo Lloris; Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Presnel Kimpembe, Lucas Hernandez; Aurelien Tchouameni, N’Golo Kante, Adrien Rabiot; Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe.
Denmark (4-3-3): Kasper Schmeichel; Daniel Wass, Andreas Christensen, Jannik Vestergaard, Joachim Maehle; Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Thomas Delaney, Christian Eriksen; Andreas Skov Olsen, Kasper Dolberg, Yussuf Yurary Poulsen.
Though Denmark has punched above its weight time and again in recent times, including a fantastic 2020 UEFA European Championship campaign where they reached the semi-finals, France will be a different kettle of fish to handle. The current run of form shows that Deschamps’ men are unstoppable at the moment and as they have done with every other team they have faced recently, Les Blues are likely to get the better of Denmark.