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France out to record best-ever winning run at World Cup

France out to record best-ever winning run at World Cup

France will be aiming to record their best-ever winning run at the World Cup when they continue the defence of their crown against Denmark in Saturday’s Group D clash.

The injury-hit Bleus endured a disappointing UEFA Nations League campaign in the lead-up to the tournament and were handed a scare in their opening match against Australia on Tuesday.

Craig Goodwin put the Socceroos 1-0 up after just nine minutes, with Lucas Hernandez suffering a devastating cruciate ligament rupture in the build-up to the goal to exacerbate France’s injury woes.

However, Adrien Rabiot, Kylian Mbappe and a brace from Olivier Giroud turned the game on its head as France ran out 4-1 winners to cement their position at the top of Group D.

Victory over Australia marked a fifth World Cup finals win in a row for Didier Deschamps‘s side, who beat Argentina, Uruguay, Belgium and Croatia en route to winning the 2018 edition.

France coach Didier Deschamps on November 22, 2022© Reuters

Should France get the better of Denmark in Saturday’s clash at Stadium 974, it will mark the first time in their history that they have won six World Cup finals games on the bounce.

Furthermore, not since Spain in 2010 has a team won six in a row at the World Cup, and La Roja failed to make it seven as they were thrashed 5-1 by the Netherlands in their opening game of the 2014 tournament.

France became the first defending champions since Brazil in 2006 to win their opening game of the tournament on Tuesday, and they are also out to become just the fifth team in history to kick off a World Cup defence with back-to-back wins.

Brazil’s teams of 2006 and 1998 managed to do so, while Uruguay and Italy achieved the feat in 1954 and 1938 respectively, but Denmark have previous when it comes to overcoming Les Bleus.

Denmark secured 2-1 and 2-0 wins when they tackled France in the Nations League earlier this year, but no team in history has beaten Les Bleus three times in the same year.

Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring for France on November 22, 2022© Reuters

France will head into their clash with Denmark without the stricken Hernandez as he prepares for months on the sidelines, joining fellow absentees Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Mike Maignan, Christopher Nkunku, Presnel Kimpembe and Karim Benzema.

Kingsley Coman also missed training on Thursday due to hip discomfort, but Raphael Varane was on the bench against Australia after recovering from a hamstring problem, and Deschamps has affirmed that the Manchester United man is ready to start.

“He could have played against Australia because he was fit. He was fit for the first match and he isn’t less fit for the second,” Deschamps said at a press conference on Friday.

“He has experience. The most important thing is that he feels ready both physically and mentally. I know that he is. Afterwards, it is a choice linked to experience. He has experience, but the most important thing is that he feels good in head and body. I will make my decision soon.”

France will be guaranteed a spot in the last 16 should they beat Denmark this weekend, and they could also confirm top spot should results go their way before their final group game against Tunisia on November 30.

A personal accolade is also on the line for Giroud, who equalled Thierry Henry‘s record of 51 goals with his brace against Australia and could now become the outright highest goalscorer in the history of the French men’s team should he find the back of the net against Denmark.

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