Denmark defender Andreas Christensen is not afraid of going up against world champions France, despite Les Bleus’ plethora of attacking talent.
France were dealt several injury blows before arriving in Qatar, with N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and then Christopher Nkunku all ruled out.
The biggest hit to Didier Deschamps came on the eve of the tournament, however, when Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema suffered a quadriceps injury.
Didier DESCHAMPS (Selectionneur France) during the French Team Football – Training session on November 25, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Anthony Bibard/FEP/Icon Sport via Getty Images)FEPGetty
Yet France had little bother brushing aside Australia in their Group D opener, coming from behind to win 4-1 on Tuesday. Olivier Giroud scored twice to match Thierry Henry as Les Bleus’ record goalscorer, while Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele all looked sharp.
As Denmark drew 0-0 with Tunisia, it means a win for France in Saturday’s match at Stadium 974 would see them through into the round of 16.
Christensen, though, sees no reason to be afraid, even if he knows two France attackers – Barcelona club-mate Dembele and former Chelsea team-mate Giroud – particularly well.
“I don’t know if afraid would be the right word. I think we can use it,” he told reporters.
“We know the other players. We already did know quite a lot. But I think the typical French, they always believe in their abilities and with reason.
Denmark’s forward Andreas Cornelius (C) controls a ball during a training session at Al Sailiya SC NATALIA KOLESNIKOVAGetty
“I think they are amazing players and I think everyone at [Barça] was really happy when Ousmane signed his new contract. He means a lot for the team and means a lot for the creativity that we have in the team.
“And the same for Ollie, you can just see how many goals he scores and again means a lot for the team. I know they’re both really big characters. So yeah, they are great players and it’s going to be good to see them again.”
Thanks to their win over Australia, France became the first reigning champion to win their opening World Cup match of a tournament since Brazil in 2006.
Only four previous defending champions have won their opening two matches of a World Cup campaign.
While France have won each of their last five World Cup games (the last nation to win six in a row was Spain in 2010), Denmark have drawn their last three matches in the competition.
FRA-DEN: match official
Polish referee Szymon Marciniak has been designated by FIFA as the official for the Group D clash today.
FIFA listed since 2011, the 41-year-old has overseen games at some of the biggest competitions in Europe referring Champions and Europa League games. He took charge of the 2018 UEFA Super Cup between Real and Atletico Madrid in Estonia and officiated at two games in Russia 2018 with the 2022 tournament being his second World Cup.
The Pole will be supported tonight by Pawel Sokolnicki, Tomasz Listkiewicz and fourth official Ning Ma.