Kylian Mbappe struck twice as defending champions France claimed a narrow 2-1 win over Denmark on Saturday and became the first team to advance to the World Cup round of 16 in Qatar.
Mbappe sent France ahead in the Group D clash just after the hour mark with a prodded finish after playing a clever one-two with teammate Theo Hernandez, but Denmark roared back with a thumping header from defender Andreas Christensen to level the scores.
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The Paris Saint-Germain striker emerged again late on to convert a cross from Antoine Griezmann and ensure France remain flawless as they continue their World Cup title defence. Mbappe has now scored 31 goals for France — moving him level with legend Zinedine Zidane on the country’s all-time scoring list.
Saturday’s result leaves France at the top of Group D on six points, three ahead of second-place Australia, while Denmark are yet to find their first win with just a point after two games.
A tight, tense first half saw France enjoy the better chances as Adrien Rabiot went close with a header and the Danes were forced into a number of last-ditch blocks to keep their clean sheet intact.
It was not to last and Mbappe put the French ahead in the 61st minute, crowning a superb high-speed French counter with a bouncing first-time finish from Hernandez’s clever pull-back.
Always a danger from set pieces, Christensen put the Danes level seven minutes later, stealing in behind the defense and stooping to head home.
Neither side seemed content with a draw and Rabiot fired a spectacular volley over in the 80th minute, and a minute later substitute Martin Braithwaite fired a first-time effort of his own just wide of the near post.
The game looked set to end in a stalemate until Mbappe popped up in the 86th minute at the far post to cushion home a Griezmann cross from close range to restore the lead to send the traveling French fans into raptures.
Denmark threw everything forward looking for a second equalizer, leaving acres of space at the back, but their late attacks against a side they beat twice in the recent Nations League campaign lacked precision and the French held on for the win that put them through.