League of Nations, 1st day – The Blues beaten by Denmark (1-2) despite a goal from Karim Benzema

League of Nations, 1st day – The Blues beaten by Denmark (1-2) despite a goal from Karim Benzema

Nightmarish evening for the French team. The Blues have started the defense of their title in the League of Nations very badly. Denmark actually came to play a nasty trick on the men of Guy Stéphan, who led the players in the absence of Didier Deschamps, Friday evening in Saint-Denis. While Karim Benzema had shown the way with a nice goal, Andreas Cornelius, surprise guest, offered himself a double to stop France’s series of seven straight victories in all competitions. Beyond the defeat, it will be necessary to monitor the state of health of Kylian Mbappé and Raphaël Varane, who both left their partners through injury, while there are still three matches to be played before the holidays.

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France had every reason to be wary of Denmark, which proved that its semi-finalist place at the last Euro was far from being usurped. The Danes have indeed shown an ideal collective discipline to thwart the disappointing Blues for almost the entire match, except in rare situations. They also quickly made the partners of Hugo Lloris tremble, saved by his post on an attempt by Joakim Mæhle (4th). It was an alert not to be forgotten, as the first period was generally closed between two teams who struggled to let go of the horses. And, to make matters worse, Kylian Mbappé, hit in the knee, came out at the break.

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Lloris only delayed the deadline

We still believed that the Blues had definitely returned to their match when they returned from the locker room, with this impression of having a real hold on the match. It was just an illusion. This short-lived upturn still allowed Karim Benzema, more than ever on cloud nine, to open the scoring after a delicious double contact (1-0, 51st). The Real Madrid striker had been poorly paid on previous occasions (13th, 15th, 48th), when he was the one who struggled the most. Unfortunately, this 37th goal in selection will leave a bitter taste in Benzema, who was not really followed by his teammates this Friday evening. And as it was a very complicated meeting for France, Raphaël Varane imitated Mbappé. Then N’Golo Kanté hit the post with a nice shot (81st).

We thought the Danes were at the bottom of the hole, they who could no longer be so solid at the start of the second act. Then they managed to score when we least expected it. Real poison from the bench, Andreas Cornelius made a perfect call between two defenders to take over, with the tip of his foot, a millimeter cross from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (1-1, 68th). Denmark then surfed on this equalizer to really doubt the Blues. Hugo Lloris did what he could to postpone the deadline, with two decisive stops (71st, 86th). On the other hand, he can not blame himself for the strike in an ultra closed angle from Cornelius, who again sanctioned the French defense by starting behind his back (1-2, 89th).

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This logical defeat, and deserved in view of the too intermittent face of the French team, will perhaps serve as a welcome, if not necessary, booster shot for Didier Deschamps’ men. In any case, we are waiting for a reaction during the next match, scheduled for Monday against Croatia. The Blues, winners of the previous edition of the League of Nations, will not have much time to ruminate and they will have to regain more confidence in the collective before the World Cup in Qatar. There is still time to prepare for the competition but rivals already seem to be ahead. In the wake of this very surprising Denmark.

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