Titleholders France are the first nation into the knockout phase of the 2022 FIFA World Cup after a 2-1 win over Denmark at Stadium 974 in Doha. Kylian Mbappe scored both of Les Bleus' goals as Didier Deschamps' men twice took the lead in Qatar either side of an Andreas Christensen header.
That the Dane was still on the pitch was controversial for some after his first half booking for hauling down Mbappe when the Paris Saint-Germain speedster was about to hit full flight. However, the French ultimately dug out a not undeserved win against a resolute Scandinavian outfit thanks to the 23-year-old marvel.
Christensen's yellow card 20 minutes in was the first major talking point in a first half of few chances as he took Mbappe to group as the Frenchman was about to hit the afterburners and break through the Danish defensive line. Although difficult to argue that it was a clear goal scoring chance at that exact moment, a matter of seconds would have made it one if Mbappe had hit lightspeed.
Instead, Kasper Schmeichel denied Adrien Rabiot, Andreas Cornelius wasted the best chances for Kasper Hjulmand's men when he fired wide after being played through without testing Hugo Lloris, and Mbappe passed up a good opportunity after being located by Ousmane Dembele. The teams went in goalless at the break with temperatures rising as the game started to get chippy.
Antoine Griezmann had the first real chance of the second half when he blazed over just before the hour mark after he chested the ball down to tee himself up nicely from range. However, France was starting to rely on Mbappe's searing pace to get in behind the Danish defense to break the deadlock in Doha.
A few minutes later and Mbappe had opened the scoring after the PSG man exchanged with the impressive Theo Hernandez on the left before finishing past Schmeichel via a slight deflection. Attacking focal point Olivier Giroud was withdrawn just after the strike which was Mbappe's 30th in French colors -- level with Jean-Pierre Papin and Just Fontaine.
France led for just seven minutes, though, as Christensen popped up to powerfully head home past Lloris in front of Rabiot to tie things up. The goal emboldened the Danish side and Lloris was forced to make an excellent save minutes later to deny Lindstrom as Les Bleus lost their defensive and midfield structure in the wake of Giroud's withdrawal.
Aurelien Tchouameni saw his header thwarted by the Danes' back line before Rabiot flashed an acrobatic effort over the crossbar which would have been Richarlison-esque if it had hit the net. Substitute Martin Braithwaite shot narrowly wide as things livened up late on with Mbappe searching for an historic second.
France's No. 10 got it with just four minutes of the 90 left as he thighed home from Griezmann's assist and with it pulled level with the great Pele on seven World Cup goals scored before the age of 24. Deschamps' men held on Stadium 974 for their second win from as many games to top Group D and become the first European defending World Cup champions since Germany in 1994 to not suffer group stage elimination.