Holders France were surprised at home by Denmark at the start of the Nations League, conceding a 2-1 defeat at the Stade de France despite Karim Benzema’s 37th goal with the Blues. After Benzema’s opener (51st), six days after his Champions League victory with Real Madrid in the same stadium, France conceded a double from Andreas Cornelius to score (68th and 88th).
The Blues record their first defeat of the season, the first failure since the Euro last summer. They are now third in the group two lengths behind Denmark and Austria, victorious in Croatia (3-0), where the Blues are making their next trip next Monday. Since the coronation at the 2018 World Cup, and if we exclude the elimination in the round of 16 against Switzerland last summer on penalties, this is the fourth defeat, after the setbacks against the Netherlands (2-1 in November 2018), Turkey (2-0 in June 2019) and against Finland in a friendly (2-0 November 2020).
The tricolors had however arrived at the Stade de France with the momentum of seven successes in a row, carried by a sold-out stadium ready to ignite for its world champions. But Denmark spoiled the party by catching up with their energetic and daring hosts.
Without Didier Deschamps, who left with his grieving family, but with his deputy Guy Stéphan at the helm, the French team showed up at kick-off with a typical team to try to win against the 11th nation. in the FIFA rankings. She first stammered her football in the first ten minutes, being technically clumsy like Kingsley Coman, sometimes messy, not very worrying and even in danger when Joakim Maehle shook the outside net of Hugo Lloris. Without the Tottenham goalkeeper, impeccable in front of Christian Eriksen (86th), the disillusion would have arrived even faster.
The blue house was still most often solid, with the precious help in the middle of Aurélien Tchouaméni and N’Golo Kanté, author of a strike on the post (80th). And Benzema’s ball-to-foot zigzags were a delight, as in this action where he eliminated four players before seeing his shot blocked by a defender (13th). The Madrid native managed to deceive Kasper Schmeichel for the first time, but he was in an offside position (15th). He did it again, successfully, after a swaying dribble in the Scandinavian area on a heeling service from Christopher Nkunku, who came into play at the break to replace the injured Kylian Mbappé.
The exit of the Parisian, like that of Raphaël Varane at the hour mark, is the big black spot of the evening in Saint-Denis where, a week after the malfunctions and incidents surrounding the C1 final, the party was total in the stadium and outside. The 23-year-old striker, grimacing, sat down on the pitch and requested the intervention of the medical staff just before half-time. Suffering from the left knee, he was replaced by Nkunku “as a precaution”, according to Guy Stéphan.