FRANCE BECOMES FIRST COUNTRY TO QUALIFY FOR ROUND OF 16 IN QATAR

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By Eniola Olatunji

.. DUMPS DENMARK 2-1, IN GROUP D ENCOUNTER.

Defending world champions, Les Bleus of France Saturday emerged the first team to qualify for the round of 16 despite an outstanding match to play, as Kylian Mbappe scored a brace to sink Denmark 2-1 in a group D match.

The Paris St Germaine (PSG) player scored in the 61st minute via Theo Hernandez assist and the second was in the 86th minute from Antoine Griezmann pass with both goals witnessed by his parents who said they have been following the dreams, progress and development of their star boy son at the stadium in Qatar.

The night was full of threats, challenges, hard tackles that brought 4 fouls from France and 9 from Denmark with a yellow card to France and two to Denmark.

France had the night under control forcing 6 corner kicks to Denmark 4 with 6 shots on target and two to Denmark. In fact, the first shot on target for Denmark was what Christensen scored at 68th minute from Joachim Andersen assist for the equalizer before sleekly Mabappe provided the silencer that sent the Danish players to go stand at the exit door.

France and Denmark had met six times, in a friendly match on 30th May 2008 France won 2-0; 23rd March 2016 France won 2-0; 11th October 2016 Denmark lost 1-2; A goalless draw was played at the 2018 world cup on 26th June; on 3rd June 2022 at the European Cup of Nations League France lost 1-2 and just on the 25th of September 2022 at the European Cup of Nations League, Denmark won 2-0. So everybody expected Denmark to win in Qatar on current form.

Denmark had played a surprise goalless draw with Tunisia and France thrashed Australia 4-1 in the first round but in the other second round match played earlier on Saturday (today), the Kangaroos of Australia dubbed Carthage Eagles of Tunisia 2-0.

Thus France has already qualified for round of 16 without the last group games having 6 full points with +4 goals difference; Australia funny enough is second for now with 3 points and -2 goals difference; Denmark has one point together with Tunisia.

On Tuesday 29th Group D qualifiers will be finally known at matches to be played simultaneously at 1600 hours West African Time between Australia and Denmark then, Tunisia now with an ant weight will attempt to carry the Maggi weight of the French. We need a woman with analytical eyes to convince us of that possibility but an empirical way to decide if Africa will not lose one of her entries is 90 minutes on the field of play.

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