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World Cup
24 June 1998 Group C Lyon - Stade de Gerland
France Denmark
Despite making eight changes from the side that had already won both group games, scoring seven goals in the process and conceding none, the host nation France comfortably disposed of Denmark 2-1 in this Group C contest. Goals from Youri Djorkaeff from the penalty spot and Emmanuel Petit sandwiched Michael Laudrup's strike, also from the spot, as the squad players took the opportunity to impress their coach. The result means that Aime Jacquet's side top the group whilst Denmark also qualify for the last sixteen as runners-up following the 2-2 draw between South Africa and Saudi Arabia this afternoon in Bordeaux. The French began like a house on fire with Djorkaeff relishing the freedom of the role normally filled by the suspended Zinedine Zidane, as early efforts by newcomers' Patrick Vierra and Bernard Diomede tested Peter Schmeichel in the Danish goal. The big 'keeper was making his 104th appearance for Denmark to set a new record for his country. Not surprisingly France took the lead on 13 minutes when left-back Vincent Candela, deputising for the rested Bixente Lizarazu, fed a pass into David Trezeguet and Jes Hogh mistimed his tackle to send the big striker tumbling. Referee Pierluigi Collina from Italy had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Djorkaeff assumed the responsibility of penalty taker to give France the lead, although Schmeichel, guessing right, was a little unlucky to be beaten. Apart from a 17th-minute Brian Laudrup shot, saved by Fabien Barthez at his near post, Denmark created precious little in the opening half an hour and the new French and Chelsea defensive pairing of Frank Leboeuf and Marcel Desailly looked extremely comfortable together. Patrick Vieira was enjoying the chance to shine in a midfield role alongside Arsenal team-mate Petit and his excellent strike from Diomede's cross just grazed the Dane's crossbar on 23 minutes. Denmark had to wait until the 34th minute for their best chance when superb interplay between the Laudrup brothers saw Michael release Brian for a run at goal and a ferocious shot that Barthez diving to his right did well to keep out. The equaliser came totally against the run of play and again was down to some quick thinking by the 34-year-old Danish skipper whose swiftly taken free-kick resulted in a penalty awarded for a foul on Martin Jorgensen and the elder Laudrup coolly slotted home the spot-kick. The Danes clearly realised at half-time that the 1-1 scoreline from Bordeaux meant that even if they lost this game to France, then South Africa needed to win by three clear goals to stop them from progressing to the second stage. Therefore, after the interval Denmark never looked to get forward and were quite content to sit back and defend. However, the French continued to push forward with the new players hoping to stake a claim for a regular place in the starting line-up and the impressive Djorkaeff forced Schmeichel into an awkward save on 53 minutes following Petit's accurate pass. Just three minutes later the home fans were celebrating the second French goal when Petit's low shot squeezed through a crowded goalmouth giving Schmeichel no chance. For the remainder of the game both sides appeared content to play out time without over-exerting themselves and apart from the introduction of Thierry Henry as a 72nd minute substitute for Pires, the capacity 44,000 crowd had little more to cheer. Although Vieira did test Schmeichel with one of the hardest shots of the Tournament so far after 84 minutes before Denmark produced their only attempt on goal in the second half from a free-kick taken by Stig Toefting. France now face Paraguay in the last sixteen following the latter's win over Nigeria later tonight, while Denmark meet Nigeria in the second stages.

(1-0) Djorkaeff (13, pen). Trezeguet was felled by Jes Hogh down the left side of the Danish area as he raced onto Candela's throughball and Inter Milan's attacking midfielder stepped up to strike the spot-kick right-footed low to Schmeichel's right with the big 'keeper unlucky not to keep out the effort.

(1-1) Laundrup, M (42, pen). Jorgensen was wrestled clumsily to the ground by Candela following a quickly taken free-kick by the Dutch skipper which caught the French defence napping, and the captain stepped up to nonchalantly side-foot home right-footed from the spot to Barthez's left, sending the 'keeper wrong way.

(2-1) Petit (56). Pires and then Desailly saw shots blocked following Djorkaeff's corner from the left and the ball finally rebounded into the path of the Arsenal midfielder who struck a low first-time left-footer through a tangle of legs beyond Schmeichel's outstretched left leg from just outside the box.

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