World Cup sees first goalless draw as Denmark and France play out dour 0-0 in Moscow

26 Jun, 2018 15:51
World Cup sees first goalless draw as Denmark and France play out dour 0-0 in Moscow
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© Axel Schmidt / Reuters

The 2018 World Cup saw its first goalless game as Denmark and France played out a dour 0-0 in their final Group C match at Luzhniki in Moscow.

The result – coupled with Australia’s 2-0 defeat in their closing Group C game against Peru – means Denmark qualify for the last 16 along with France, although the pair produced a game to forget in Moscow.

Every other game at Russia 2018 had seen at least one goal – meaning 37 matches in total – but the record run came to an ignominious end as the two European nations failed to score in a game devoid of the verve and endeavor that has been the hallmark of the Russia 2018 World Cup so far.  

France went into the game knowing they had already booked their last 16 place, following their opening two wins, while Denmark knew a point would likely be enough to see them through after four points from their first two matches.

France boss Didier Deschamps chose to rest Paul Pogba, who was on a yellow card going into the game, while Thomas Lemar started on the left and Steve Mandanda made a rare start in goal as Hugo Lloris was rested.

Denmark made a bright start at Luzhniki as Martin Braithwaite bulldozed his way around, leading the Danish line, while a crunching tackle for Henrik Dalsgaard fired up the large Danish contingent in the crowd.

But the opening fire quickly faded from the Danes, giving way to spells of French possession and a first half that was distinctly low on quality and chances.

Christian Eriksen thought he had a shout for a penalty when he charged into the box around the half-hour mark, being met by a racing Mandanda and going down, although the VAR was not called on as the French goalkeeper’s contact with the ball was evident.

France began to keep the ball better as the half wore on, with playmaker Antoine Griezmann curling an effort at Kasper Schmeichel in the Denmark goal, before Ousmane Dembele sent a shot wide.

However, as the game wore on it became evident that it was developing into a candidate for the first 0-0 of Russia 2018, and the teams were met with a round of boos as they trudged off at half-time.

That appeared to have little effect as the second half started in the same soporific fashion, with neither side committing too many men forward.

France thought they had found a goal through substitute Nabil Fekir when he shot from the edge of the box on 70 minutes, but his strike hit the side netting and the excitement was short-lived.

France pressed towards the end and looked the likelier to break the deadlock, but the game ended 0-0, meaning the French progress as group winners on seven points, followed by the Danes on five.

The teams were booed off at the end for their goalless efforts, and neither will head into the knockout stages with any sense of momentum after such a lifeless encounter.