France vs. Denmark, 10 a.m. ET Tuesday, Fox
- France +118
- Denmark +391
- Draw +167
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It’s first against second in Group C, but while France’s spot in the next round is already assured, Denmark are still sweating on the results of the final group games before they can start celebrating.
In truth both of these sides have underwhelmed to now and are more than a little fortunate to boast their current records. And while a draw would be enough for both to progress in their current positions, Les Bleus in particular could really use an improved performance.
As has been the case for much of Didier Deschamps’ reign, France’s squad hasn’t equated to the sum of its parts. There’s an embarrassment of riches at the coach’s disposal, but getting the best out of them in the manner that the fans are justified to expect has been another matter.
Narrow victories over Australia and Peru have gotten the job done, but a statement win would give the whole squad and fans a needed lift ahead of the knockout phase. Breaking down a Denmark side that would book a place in the last 16 with a draw — regardless of Australia’s result against Peru — won’t be easy. But there may have been too much consideration given to the fact that a point would suit both sides in the odds.
The Scandinavians have been lucky to this point, with Peru desperately unfortunate not to get all three points — let alone one — in the group opener, while Australia were also a match for what is a functional Denmark side.
Age Hareide will go with his best 11, but in reality, if you can keep star man Christian Eriksen in check, Denmark lack creativity and tend to sit deep and play direct up to the tall forwards in the form of Nicolai Jorgensen and Yussuf Poulsen.
Though it’s likely that the favorites for Tuesday’s game may make a number of changes, there are few sides at the tournament that possess their depth, and those on the fringes will be driven by the goal of securing a starting berth in the next round.
The fact, then, that France are over evens with the majority of bookmakers makes the value bet in this match an uncomplicated one. Rather than play with the hand brake on, Deschamps’ exciting young side should go out with the shackles off, and if they do, the Danes — who may well go through even if they are defeated — should be no match for a team that is capable of going the distance if they can get their act together.