SPORTS NEWS

France, Denmark qualify for pre-quarters

Moscow, June 26: France and Denmark played out the first 0-0 draw of the ongoing FIFA World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium here on Tuesday as both teams progressed to the Round-of-16 in a tepid Group C match.

Didier Deschamps’ France, already through to the second round before the game started, won Group C with seven points while Denmark, who needed a draw, finished second having five points.

Peru, who beat Australia 2-0 in the other Group C game, crashed out ending third in the table with three points as the Aussies failed to win a game and followed suit with just one point to show for.

The game between France and Denmark lacked intensity and with the news of Peru taking the lead against Australia in the 18th minute, the Danish fans became more relaxed as this would mean they were going through as things stood.

Australia, before the game, needed help from France and a win against Peru to go through.

Christian Eriksen came closest to handing Denmark the advantage near the half-hour mark but a timely interception by left-back Lucas Hernandez stopped the Tottenham Hotspur player in his tracks.

The best chance of the half fell to France’s Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud when a Thomas Lemar aerial through ball found Antoine Griezmann. The Atletico Madrid attacker teed up Giroud who skied his effort.

After the break, France’s second choice goalkeeper Steve Mandanda was in the spotlight for fumbling Eriksen’s twin attempts in quick succession.

Eriksen then sent another effort wide before Denmark brought on Viktor Fischer for Pione Sisto as the hour approached.

France took off Griezmann and introduced Nabil Fekir, who almost made an instant impact when he turned and fired in a shot that brushed the side-netting on its way wide.

Giroud got another chance but hooked his attempt well over the bar while Nabil Fekir, who replaced Griezmann, forced Danish keeper Kasper Schmeichel into a save with another try from a distance.

The game ended with boos from the neutral spectators in Moscow for falling way below World Cup standards. IANS