We take a look at three players who could be the game-changers as France go head to head against Denmark in their final Group C match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
France will look to make it three wins in three games at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, when they take on fellow European nation Denmark at the Luzhniki Stadium on Tuesday.
Didier Deschamps’ Les Bleus are already through to the knockout stages of the tournament following their 1-0 win over Peru last week. A win or a draw in Moscow would confirm their status as winners of Group C and provide them with momentum and confidence heading into the Round of 16.
Denmark sit second in Group C following their 1-1 draw against Australia and will need at least a point on Tuesday to ensure qualification to the next round, without having to depend on the result of other group game between Australia and Peru.
Ahead of the big game between the two European nations, here at The Hard Tackle, we take a look at three players who could prove to be the difference makers on Tuesday.
Much was expected of the 27-year-old forward heading into the World Cup in Russia, and while he did find the back of the net from the penalty spot in the opening game against Australia, his performances have been nowhere near his best.
The Atletico Madrid star is someone the entire team looks up to, to provide that bit of spark and magic in the attacking third of the pitch, but none of it has been on display this summer. As was the case two years ago, during UEFA Euro 2016 – Griezmann hadn’t had the best of the starts, but would eventually go on to finish as the top scorer in the tournament as France made it to the finals.
And Deschamps will be hoping that it turns out to be the case once again. Griezmann has been capped 56 times by the French National Team, in which he has netted 21 goals so far. And the sooner he hits his stride in Russia, the better for the team.
The Tottenham Hotspur playmaker is the talisman of this Denmark side and has been crucial to their string of impressive results in the recent past. Eriksen has 80 international caps against his name for the Danish Dynamite in which he has scored 23 goals, since making his debut back in 2010.
Twenty of those goals have come in his last 17 appearances – indicating the kind of devastating form he has been on the international stages. Eriksen has had a hand in 18 goals in his last 15 appearances for the national team (13 goals, 5 assists), including his assist in the opener against Peru and the sensational goal he scored against Australia.
Without a question, he will once again be Age Hareide’s biggest weapon, when the Danes set out to battle against the French at the Luzhniki. A reported transfer target for La Liga champions Barcelona, the 26-year old could compel the Catalans into making a move for him with a string of eye-catching displays in Russia.
The man who France will look up to, to nullify Eriksen’s impact on Tuesday, N’Golo Kante will have a major role to play when the two sides clash. Easily one of the best defensive midfielders in the game, the 27-year-old has been France’s best player so far in what has been a bit of a dull start to their World Cup campaign.
The Chelsea star covers every blade of grass, recovers possession and uses it effectively and intelligently, which makes him the crux of this French team. His reassuring presence in front of the back four allows the attack-minded players the freedom they need to do go about their business.
Currently on Real Madrid’s radar, Kante has already made 27 recoveries (tackles and interceptions) in this World Cup in just two games, highlighting the kind of defensive work that he puts in for Les Bleus. And, he will once again be needed to perform at his brilliant best, if he is to take Eriksen out of the equation on Tuesday.