It took 11 days and 37 games, but the World Cup finally produced its first scoreless draw.
And it was a snooze-fest: France 0 Denmark 0.
The Danes had an excuse: All they
needed was a tie to advance to the round of 16. (As it was, Peru's 2-0 win over Australia eliminated the Socceroos, who entered the final day of group play with only a slim hope of advancing.)
But the French? They were underwhelming in beating Australia, 2-1, and Peru, 1-0, to advance after only two games. The hope was that Les Bleus would break out of their funk and build some
momentum heading into knockout round. What's next ... June 30
France (Winner Group C) vs. Runner-up Group D, in
Kazan (10 am ET, Fox, Telemundo) July 1
Denmark (Runner-up Group C) vs. Winner Group D, in Nizhny Novgorod (2 pm ET, Fox, Telemundo)
Coach Didier Deschamps
changes from the team that beat Peru, giving five players their first action at the World Cup and throwing on an extra attacker in Thomas Lemar
, who started in place of Blas Matuidi
struggled in the match against Peru.
If Matuidi had any concerns about losing his starting job, he shouldn't worry. Lemar -- headed to Atletico Madrid from Monaco for a $70 million
transfer fee -- was totally ineffective.
But a bigger worry for the French remained the poor form of star Antoine Griezmann
, Lemar's future teammate at Atletico Madrid.
For the third straight game, Griezmann was subbed out for Nabil Fekir
after a less than inspiring showing, marked by repeated turnovers, but he refused to accept that the French
performance was a setback.
"It is true that it was not very pretty to see at the stadium or on TV," he said. "I am sorry for the people who expected lots of goals or nice moves,
which was not the case here. We are through and we topped the group, that can be enough -- or not. The reality is that no matter the team, you have to beat them to go all the way. We trust ourselves,
we know that there are a few things to work on, but we are also confident."
Group C ...
RESULTS: Saturday, June 16 France
1. (Griezmann pen. 58, Pogba 80; Jedinak pen. 62. Att: 41,279.) Denmark
59. Att.: 40,502.) Thursday, June 21
1. (Eriksen 7; Jedinak pen. 38. Att.: 40,727.) France
(Mbappe 34. Att.: 32,789.) Tuesday, June 26 Denmark
0. (Att.: 78,011.) Peru
0. (Carrillo 18,
Guerrero 50. Att.: 44,073.)
, 7 points (3-1) 2. Denmark
, 5 points (2-1)
----------------------------------- 3. Peru
, 3 points (2-2) 4. Australia
, 1 point (2-5)
In parentheses goal difference.
The penalty was given to
#NGA after Mascherano was holding Balogun, while trying to defend a corner. Often happens on set pieces, but penalties are rarely given for that. #NGAARG #ARG
Saturday, June 16 Argentina
1. (Aguero 19; Finnbogason 23. Att.: 44,190.) Croatia
(Own goal 32, Modric pen. 71. Att.: 31,136.) Thursday, June 21
(Rebic 53, L. Modric 80, I. Rakitic 90+1. Att.: 43,319.)
Friday, June 22
(Musa 49, 75. Att.: 40,904.)