France hosted Denmark last night in an international friendly, and the hosts cantered to a 2-0 victory, courtesy of first half goals from Lacazette and Giroud, who both started the game. After the comprehensive defeat to Brazil, Didier Deschamps and France would be happy with the comfortable win against the Danes.
Deschamps made multiple changes to the team, with only 3 players, Rafael Varane, Antoine Griezmann and Morgan Schneiderlin, retained from the game against Brazil. He gave starts to Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud, and rested Karim Benzema for this game while Denmark manager Morten Olsen gave a start to Kasper Schmeichel, who was returning from a foot injury. The French side started the brighter of the two, and it showed in the number of chances that were created. The first goal came as early as the 14th minute itself, when Lacazette combined with Dimitri Payet to provide an opportunity for Griezmann. However, the shot was saved by Schmeichel, but he could not control the rebound which was duly converted by Lacazette.
Schmeichel had further troubles as the game wore on, and while he did well to save another shot from Lacazette, he was lucky when a shot from Payet went just wide off the post and was not on target. Another opportunity was created when Payet crossed to Lacazette, but the latter could not make it count. However, Giroud got into the action to make sure France had a two goal lead going into the break, as he latched on to a through ball from Geoffrey Kondogbia and his shot between the legs of Schmeichel found the back of the net.
However, the second half saw more of Denmark and the French side took a backseat. It was perhaps understandable considering the number of changes that were made, but it was definitely a complete contrast to what happened in the first half. Denmark dominated possession but were unable to convert any of the chances they created. The ones that they did get on target, they could only look on as goalkeeper Ruffier, playing in place of Hugo Lloris, made some very good saves to deny the Danes a breakthrough. A volley from Krohn-Dehli was unfortunately blocked by the hand of Laurent Koscielny, while another opportunity that was presented for Simon Poulsen went begging as he missed the target.
Bendtner had a couple of chances himself, but was denied by Ruffier and the post, as the hattrick scorer against USA couldna t find the goal on the night. Even Christian Eriksen tried to get into the action, but his effort was denied as well. France tried to put the pressure back on Denmark, and when Lacazette took a fall in the penalty area between 2 Danish players, it looked like there would be an opportunity for a third. However, the referee was having none of it and waved any claims to a penalty. Koscielny tried to work his magic from corners towards the end but both his efforts from balls put in by Valbuena went begging. Giroud tried to head one in from another Valbuena cross, but he could not get it on target as the French tried to run the clock down to keep the clean sheet.
In the end, it will have been an easy outing for France, especially after the heavy defeat they suffered against Brazil, and Deschamps will take comfort from the fact that his team could step up from a setback. Olsen, on the other hand, would have hoped that his side could have continued the momentum from the win against USA, but it wasna t to be. Part of the blame could probably be placed on the fact that Denmark couldna t train properly for the game, citing poor facilities. Whatever is the case, Olsen will want to ensure his side find some consistency before the return to competitive games.