After playing a key role in France’s game one victory over Australia at the World Cup, Ibrahima Konaté made way for Raphaël Varane against Denmark on Saturday but was introduced in the second half and was on the pitch for France’s second goal in a 2-1 win.
Kylian Mbappé scored France’s goals on 61 and 86 minutes in a game that was slow to gather momentum, while Andreas Christiensen scored for Denmark on 68 minutes. Konaté was introduced to the match after 75 minutes.
The win secures France a place in the knockout rounds with six points from their first two games in Group D. With the first tiebreakers goal difference and then goals scored, it seems unlikely second place Australia—currently on three points but six behind on goal difference and four behind on goals scored—could catch them. The third tiebreaker is head-to-head.
Things were less positive for Liverpool’s English stars the day previous, as the Three Lions could only manage a nil-nil draw with the United States to mostly negative reviews that have heaped pressure on manager Gareth Southgate.
Southgate’s continued insistence in setting up his team in order to omit Trent Alexander-Arnold, arguably the game’s best attacking fullback, will be a talking point any time a game doesn’t go England’s way—and it’s especially odd that as the clock wound down there was no room in Southgate’s plans to bring him off the bench.
Southgate was able to bring on Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, but as he replaced the more attacking Jude Bellingham that was an equally puzzling move for many viewers and drew a fair bit of criticism.
England, though, currently lead Group B and are similarly through to the next round in at least second place. They currently have four points to Iran’s three and the USA’s two while Wales, their final opponent, trail with one point.
Still, it would be nearly impossible for England not to advance, as they would need to lose by six to Wales for that country to even end up level on points and the first tiebreaker, goal difference, and only one of USA or Iran can draw level or leap past them based on results in that game.