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Qatar 2022: Mbappe matches Zidane and Messi as France become the first team to reach the round of 16

Mbappe scores two goals as France find a way past Denmark

Kylian Mbappe is cementing his place as a World Cup great

Heading into the match, Denmark had beaten France twice in 2022 already and were headed for a hat trick of wins against France this year.

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But this time, they found Mbappe in unstoppable form and in the mood to match all-time greats of the game.

Denmark started with a 3-4-2-1 formation which they employed to regain control of the second half of their last game against Tunisia, while France started with a similar line up as they did against Australia.

The only changes in the team were due to the injury to Lucas Hernandez who was replaced by his brother Theo Hernandez in the last match, as well as the return to fitness of Jules Kounde who replaced Benjamin Pavard at right back.

Despite Denmark employing an offensive looking formation, it was still France who dominated the attacking in the first half.

While Denmark had more possession, France had 13 shots to Denmark’s two.

Even with the barrage of shots, France were unable to break the deadlock and as Denmark were only able to muster two shots on goal without hitting the target with either throughout the first half, both sides entered the second half deadlocked at 0-0.

In the second half, France found the accuracy that eluded them in the first half, trading a high quantity of shots for fewer high quality shots.

They had only eight shots in the second half, but those shots were worth 1.42xG compared to the 0.99xG that they got from the 13 shots in the first half.

With France shooting better than in the first half, it was only a matter of time before they took the lead, and the opening goal came through the most in form French footballer in the World.

Kylian Mbappe gave France the lead just after the hour following some brilliant work from Theo Hernandez, scoring his 30th goal for France at only 23-years-old.

The lead did not last long, as less than 10 minutes after that, Barcelona defender Andreas Christensen equalised for the Danes with a powerful header that left Hugo Lloris with no chance.

The momentum started to swing in Denmark’s favour, with France needing Lloris to keep them in the game, but France and Mbappe would have the last laugh.

With only four minutes left in normal time, Mbappe met a brilliant Antoine Griezmann cross with an assured finish to give France the lead again, this time they managed to keep it until full time.

With his second goal of the night, Mbappe hit 31 goals for France, drawing level with Zinedine Zidane as France’s 7th highest goalscorer of all time. It was also his 7th World Cup goal which draws him level with Lionel Messi for goal at the World Cup.

Sometimes, it is easy to forget that Mbappe is still yet to hit his peak, and is playing in only his second World Cup.

With this victory, France have now qualified for the second round of the World Cup, becoming the first team to do so.

Denmark will instead enter a final round showdown with Australia, with the winner almost guaranteed a place in the next round, especially if France get a result against Tunisia.

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