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

Source: Livescore News

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

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

Trabzonspor striker Cornelius volleyed in a delightful equaliser soon after being introduced from the substitutes’ bench and then fired in a winner two minutes from time to stun France, who lost Kylian Mbappe to a first-half injury.

Denmark join Austria, who beat Croatia 3-0 elsewhere on Friday, at the top of Group A1.

The visitors enjoyed a near-perfect campaign in qualifying for Qatar 2022, where they will meet France in the group stage, and started the brighter in this contest.

Kasper Dolberg got in behind the home defence inside the first three minutes and picked out Joakim Maehle, who hit the outside of the post with the angle against him.

France soon grew into the game, with Benzema having a goal-bound shot blocked by Jannik Vestergaard and a low strike past Kasper Schmeichel ruled out for offside.

Mbappe sustained an injury shortly before half-time and played no part after the break, but the home team – who were without head coach Didier Deschamps in the dugout following the passing of his father – did not require long to open the scoring in the second half.

Benzema played a one-two with Mbappe’s replacement Christopher Nkunku, took the ball past three opposition players and slid the ball away from Schmeichel for the 51st-minute opener.

Les Blues did not build on that lead, however, as substitute Cornelius flashed a first-time 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 curled effort, but it was Cornelius who had the final say in Paris with a thumping finish into the roof of the net at Lloris’ near post.

What does it mean? Danes dazzle to inflict rare home loss on France

France had won seven games in a row prior to this contest and were without defeat in nine since being eliminated from Euro 2020 by Switzerland at the last-16 stage.

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 genuine substance and were punished by Denmark.

This is France’s first competitive home loss in 90 minutes since going down 1-0 to Spain in March 2013, and will act as a warning sign ahead of an upcoming World Cup that they will enter as the favourites of many.

Benzema maintains good form

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

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

Les Bleus crumble

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

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

What’s next?

France travel to Split to take on Croatia in their second Nations League outing on Monday, the same day that Denmark face Austria in Vienna.

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