Home USA News Giroud and Mbappe hungry for goals as France face Denmark

Giroud and Mbappe hungry for goals as France face Denmark


DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Olivier Giroud will overtake Thierry Henry to become France’s all-time leading scorer with 52 goals when he scores against Denmark at the World Cup on Saturday. If Kylian Mbappe finds the net, he will draw level with another great Frenchman.

A win over the Danes at the 974 Stadium would also see Les Bleus through to the knockout rounds and top the group with Tunisia and Australia drawing in the other Group D game.

So there is plenty to look forward to, although France captain Hugo Lloris remains cautious.

“If you look too far ahead in the competition, then you can stumble. We have a big mountain to climb tomorrow,” Lloris said on Friday. “It will be a battle; the fact that the Danes drew against Tunisia means they need to win.”

Giroud and Mbappe looked sharp together and both scored in Tuesday’s 4-1 rout of Australia.

Another goal from Mbappe would take his tally to 30 for France.

That would bring him level with Juste Fontaine, whose 13 goals in the 1958 World Cup remains the tournament record. In those days, players didn’t get much pay or support, so Fontaine’s prize for being Sweden’s top goalscorer was a hunting rifle.

It was a fitting reward for such a relentless shooter, who scored 30 points in just 21 games before his career was derailed by a knee injury.

So Giroud and Mbappe are in illustrious company and they are good together. Mbappe scored one goal and set up Giroud’s second goal against Australia.

Their blossoming partnership is important to achieve the goals, but also because they have long been considered incompatible. Mbappe was more at ease alongside Karim Benzema, who took Giroud’s place at last year’s European Championships, while Giroud formed a good partnership with Antoine Griezmann at Euro 2016 and the last World Cup.

With Benzema out injured and Griezmann moving into the midfield role, Mbappe and Giroud’s partnership has happened indirectly. Both are well served by the speed and passing of winger Ousmane Dembele, who is also back in the side.

“His assist for Mbappe’s header (against Australia) was superb,” ​​Deschamps said. “He always has the ability to beat a player.”

The trio are vital to France’s chances of retaining their title.

But as strong as the French attack looks, there are glaring weaknesses in the defense against injuries. Lucas Hernandez was the latest to join the list after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in the match against the Aussies.

Center back Raphael Varane has not played since injuring his hamstring for Manchester United on October 11.

Deschamps hinted that Varane will start on Saturday.

“He could have played the first game (against Australia) if he was fit,” Deschamps said. “The important thing is that he feels mentally and physically ready, which he is.”

France desperately need him after a patchwork and inexperienced back four were easily beaten by Australia’s first goal.

“We gave away four chances against Australia,” Deschamps said. “There are things that need to be improved.”

The Danes have beaten France twice this year during the Nations League and Deschamps believes they are not getting their fair share of credit.

“I think they’re underrated given their true quality,” Deschamps said. “They can easily change the system during the match and that causes problems.”

But even if the Danes have what it takes to cause the French defensive problems, the question is whether their own defense can stop the French attack in a new way.


AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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