Denmark defeated reigning champions France 2-1

After Karim Benzema put the hosts up, Andreas Cornelius scored twice to give Denmark a merited victory in UEFA Nations League Group Al. Denmark rallied from a goal down to defeat the holders 2-1 at Stade de France on Friday (June 3).

Denmark got off to a fast start in Saint-Denis, almost scoring inside the first five minutes. After Kasper Dolberg scampered past the home defense inside the penalty area, Joakim Maehle shot against the post.

Karim Benzema

That worry sparked action, if not brutality, on the part of the holders. Les Bleus got as near as Kylian Mbappe’s looping shot into Kasper Schmeichel’s arms from distance in a first half typified by the visitors’ intense press and willingness to shut down space, cutting off the supply line for last season’s Ligue 1 top scorer and strike partner Karim Benzema.

Mbappe did not return for the second half after seeming to take a hit soon before the break, and his substitute, Christopher Nkunku, supplied the spark France needed to break through Denmark’s defense.

Benzema found the Leipzig livewire inside the penalty area after collecting a pass on the right, and his improvised return ball enabled the Real Madrid striker to befuddle his opponents with a superb touch before putting a low finish past Schmeichel from close range.

That magnificent goal temporarily gave France the lead, only for Denmark’s persistent pursuing of enemy territory to reap benefits once again. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg turned to send an appealing cross into the path of replacement Andreas Cornelius, who had plenty of room to choose his spot with a volley that soared past Hugo Lloris.

N’Golo Kante nearly restored France’s lead, sending a wonderful attempt from distance onto a post, and Christian Eriksen couldn’t disguise his annoyance as Lloris blocked his shot when the playmaker appeared destined to score. Cornelius had none of those regrets, sprinting onto a Maehle through ball and beating Loris to the 86th-minute winner.

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