France 1-2 Denmark: Cornelius double troubles Nations League holders

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Andreas Cornelius struck twice in the second half when France’s Nations League title defense began with a shocked 2-1 loss to Denmark in Paris.

France took the lead through Karim Benzema at the Stade de France, the place where he lifted the Champions League with Real Madrid six days earlier, but they were unable to see the victory.

Trabzonspor striker Cornelius sent in a fine equalizer shortly after being introduced from the bench and then sent in a winner two minutes from time to shock France, who lost Kylian Mbappe to injury in the first half.

Denmark joins Austria, which on Friday beat Croatia 3-0 elsewhere in the top of Group A1.

The visitors enjoyed an almost perfect campaign in qualifying for Qatar 2022, where they face France in the group stage, and started brighter in this competition.

Kasper Dolberg came in behind the home defense inside the first three minutes and picked up Joakim Maehle, who hit the outside of the post with the angle towards him.

France quickly grew into the match, where Benzema got a goal-bound shot blocked by Jannik Vestergaard, and a low attack past Kasper Schmeichel was ruled out for offside.

Mbappe suffered an injury shortly before the break and played no role after the break, but the home team – who were without head coach Didier Deschamps in dugout after his father’s death – were not long in opening the scoring in the second. half.

Benzema played one-two with Mbappe’s replacement Christopher Nkunku, took the ball past three opposing players and slid the ball away from Schmeichel to the opening in the 51st minute.

Les Blues, however, did not build on that lead when substitute Cornelius flashed a first-half finish past Hugo Lloris in the 68th minute with the side of his boot after being spotted by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

N’Golo Kante hit the post with a curly effort, but it was Cornelius who had the final say in Paris with a thumping finish in the roof of the net at Lloris’ near post.

What does it mean? Danes rarely dazzle to inflict home losses on France

France had won seven matches in a row prior to this competition and were unbeaten in nine since Switzerland were eliminated from the 2020 European Championships in the round of 16.

Les Bleus may have had more than double the number of attempts (19 to 8) and enjoyed more of the ball, but they did not create a huge amount of real substance and were punished by Denmark.

This is France’s first competitive home loss in 90 minutes since they went down 1-0 to Spain in March 2013, and it will serve as a warning sign ahead of an upcoming World Cup, which they will go into as many’s favorites.

Benzema is in good shape

As was the case a week ago in the Champions League final, Benzema had a goal in the first half ruled out – although this was far less controversial than his strike against Liverpool.

He scored a sublime goal early in the second half here and now has the net against 24 different teams for France – only Thierry Henry (37) and Olivier Giroud (30) can improve it.

Blues crumble

Despite taking the lead against a stubborn opponent, France were unable to see victory at home.

It is the first time since March 2018, in a friendly match against Colombia, that they have tasted defeat after opening the scoring in one match, a race of 34 matches.

What’s next?

France travels to Split to host Croatia in their second Nations League match on Monday, the same day as Denmark meets Austria in Vienna.

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