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Player ratings as Mbappe brace sends Les Bleus to last 16

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Reigning champions France became the first side to advance to the knockout stages of the 2022 World Cup following a late 2-1 win over Denmark.

The Danes beat Les Bleus twice in the Nations League this year but Didier Deschamps’ men were much improved on Saturday to claim their second Group D win from two games.

France’s first half chance came when a deep Theo Hernandez cross was headed back by Adrien Rabiot towards Olivier Giroud, but Christian Eriksen arrived just in time to poke the ball off his toe with the goal gaping.

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Rabiot’s next header was one directed towards goal, rising high ahead of Victor Nelsson to meet a great cross from Ousmane Dembele, with Kasper Schmeichel providing an instinctive save to keep the Juventus man out.

A half-volley from Jules Kounde was blocked off the line by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Schmeichel denied Antoine Griezmann at his near post from close range as France’s first half domination continued.

Denmark’s first opportunity of note came on the counter attack with Jesper Lindstrom releasing Andreas Cornelius into the right channel, but his effort from a tight angle went harmlessly wide of Hugo Lloris’ goal.

Dembele continued to have the freedom of the right flank and came close to providing an assist for Kylian Mbappe, but the PSG forward couldn’t keep his strike from 12 yards down.

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After the break, Mbappe spun and burst away from Joachim Andersen before sprinting 40 yards before goal, only for Giroud to block his path and making his shot at goal easier for Schmeichel to deal with.

Griezmann should have opened the scoring after racing to meet Aurelien Tchouameni’s wonderfully timed ball over the top of the defence, but he lost his composure and his strike sailed way over the top.

And France finally found the goal they deserved on the hour mark through Mbappe. The forward linked up superbly with Hernandez down the left flank, with the Milan full-back getting to the byline and pulling back for Les Bleus’ number ten to fire home via a deflection off of Andreas Christensen.

However, Denmark found a leveller shortly after. Christian Eriksen’s corner was nodded on by Andersen, and Andreas Christensen nipped in ahead of Rabiot to head past Lloris.

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That seemed to kick the Danes into gear and spook France, with Mikkel Damsgaard pulling back to a free Lindstrom inside the box. However, Lloris threw out an arm and denied the Frankfurt forward.

Denmark were let off the hook when Andersen completely missed a header from a corner allowing Aurelien Tchouameni to ghost in, but Joakim Maehle was able to provide a vital block.

Former Barcelona striker Martin Braithwaite came close to punishing current Barça defender Jules Kounde after getting in front of him to Kasper Dolberg’s venomous cross through the penalty area, though his shot could only find the side netting.

France re-took the lead in the last five minutes of normal time as Mbappe ghosted in behind Rasmus Kristensen to nod in Griezmann’s deep cross to seal the three points and leave Denmark’s hopes of qualification hanging in the balance.

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GK: Hugo Lloris – 5/10 – Didn’t have a lot to do. Relied on his defenders to spread the play.

RB: Jules Kounde – 6/10 – A little lucky not to have been sent off for a challenge on Nelsson. Was decent at the back but offered little the other way.

CB: Raphael Varane – 7/10 – Calmly defended with ease and was largely untroubled.

CB: Dayot Upamecano – 7/10 – Denmark tried to build most of their attacks down Upamecano’s side and he tended to respond well.

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LB: Theo Hernandez – 6/10 – Provided great width but gave up a bit of space at the back.

CM: Aurelien Tchouameni – 7/10 – Another strong performance in the absence of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante.

CM: Adrien Rabiot – 5/10 – Roamed forward with menace but lacked discipline a concerning amount.

RM: Ousmane Dembele – 8/10 – Created plenty of havoc down the wing and carried a lot of the attacking load.

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AM: Antoine Griezmann – 8/10 – Again dropped deep into midfield at times, providing the link between them and the forward line.

LM: Kylian Mbappe – 9/10 – Every time he got the ball, fans rose to their feet in anticipation. Another scintillating display.

CF: Olivier Giroud – 5/10 – Was largely unselfish again but his frantic second-half display will have contributed to the decision to substitute him.

SUB: Marcus Thuram (63′ for Giroud) – 5/10

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SUB: Ibrahima Konate (75′ for Varane) – 5/10

SUB: Kingsley Coman (75′ for Dembele) – 5/10

SUB: Youssouf Fofana (90′ for Griezmann) – N/A

Manager: Didier Deschamps – 6/10 – France played on the front foot throughout and were good value for their win.

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GK: Kasper Schmeichel – 6/10 – Kept France at bay as much as he could.

CB: Joachim Andersen – 3/10 – Torn apart time after time. Guilty of switching off several times.

CB: Andreas Christensen – 7/10 – Denmark’s most reliable defender. Got a goal for his troubles.

CB: Victor Nelsson – 4/10 – Found it hard living with Dembele.

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RM: Rasmus Kristensen – 3/10 – Provided little support for Andersen and didn’t offer a lot on the front foot.

CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 6/10 – Broke up a number of France breakaways. Covered every blade of grass.

CM: Christian Eriksen – 5/10 – Set piece delivery had France scrambling but found open play contributions harder to come by.

LM: Joakim Maehle – 5/10 – Got into good positions, though his tangible impact was limited.

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RF: Jesper Lindstrom – 6/10 – Popped up in pockets of space to France’s annoyance and was their main headache from open play.

LF: Mikkel Damsgaard – 5/10 – Played on the fringes of the game. His most notable moment came with his final action, pulling back for Lindstrom to fire at Lloris.

CF: Andreas Cornelius – 4/10 – Spurned a half-chance and was generally unhelpful. Hooked at the break.

SUB: Martin Braithwaite (46′ for Cornelius) – 6/10 – Brought great energy and was a much better bit than Cornelius.

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SUB: Kasper Dolberg (73′ for Damsgaard) – 5/10

SUB: Christian Norgaard (85′ for Lindstrom) – N/A

SUB: Alexander Bah (90′ for Kristensen) – N/A

Manager: Kasper Hjulmand – 4/10 – Denmark were horribly unambitious, especially considering they’ve had France’s number this year.

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Player of the Match – Kylian Mbappe



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EPL

Cody Gakpo reflects on first month at Liverpool

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Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo has opened up on his first month on the books at Anfield, admitting he is still getting used to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics.

The Dutchman was wanted by a number of elite sides, with Manchester United expected to win the race for his signature, but it was Liverpool who snuck in and agreed to pay an initial £35m to bring Gakpo to England.

The 23-year-old, who made his name as a left winger but has spent time as a striker at Liverpool, is yet to score after four appearances for his new side, but he told club media that is it just a matter of getting to grips with his new surroundings

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“My feeling, personally, is everyone in the team has so much quality,” he said. “That is what I see in training and in phases in the games.

“It is also a part of football, that sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to. We just have to keep improving, working hard, and the quality will come out. Then, you’re going to see the real Liverpool.”

He continued: “From a football perspective, it’s a new environment on the pitch, with new players and a new team. I can tell it’s a really great group. Every day I am looking forward to working with them, to train hard and to play the games. I am trying to adapt as quickly as possible, to improve every day and in the end show the best version of myself.

“Off the pitch, to be honest, I haven’t been in the city so many times yet. Most of the time I have been in the hotel. I am moving this week, actually. That’s also something I’m looking forward to.”

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Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Gakpo also confessed that he is still trying to adapt to his new role in Liverpool’s team.

“It is a little bit different to what I’m used to,” the Dutchman admitted. “Normally, I have played on the left for almost the past three years.

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“It’s something I can improve, playing in the striker role, and I want to show my quality there. It’s a great position and playing there makes me more complete as a technical player.





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Fulham launch bid Fluminense midfielder Andre

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Fulham have made a bid to sign Fluminense midfielder Andre, 90min understands.

The 21-year-old has quickly established himself as one of Fluminense’s top players and a number of sides across Europe have expressed an interest in luring him away from his homeland in 2023.

Sources have confirmed to 90min that Fulham have approached Fluminense to try and thrash out a deal, but the Brazilian side are reluctant to part ways with their star player during the 2023 campaign.

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Andre, who has been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool, has spoken out about the interest and insisted his focus remains solely on his current employers.

“Obviously, I’m focused and very happy,” Andre said recently. “I just renewed my contract until 2026.

“It’s normal to get offers, but I’m focused here on Fluminense and having an excellent season.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

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If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Andre’s agent, Carlos Leite, also took to Instagram to confirm that the 21-year-old had agreed to remain with Fluminense until the end of the current campaign, which runs over the entire calendar year.

“Thanks to the great work carried out, Andre entered the radars of some of the biggest European clubs and, with that, he has received several enquiries and some official proposals,” Leite wrote.

“However, the player and Fluminense, through president Mario Bittencourt, sealed an agreement for the midfielder to remain at the club at this time, with all the dedication and commitment, always seeking the best for Fluminense in all competitions.”

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Sporting CP manager makes Pedro Porro admission as Tottenham talks continue

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Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim has warned Tottenham that he will not take right-back Pedro Porro out of his starting lineup until a transfer has been 100% agreed.

90min understands Tottenham are confident they will get a deal over the line for the 23-year-old eventually, but Sporting’s reluctance to budge from their asking price of Porro’s €45m release clause has led to some lengthy negotiations which are not yet over.

And while Porro is still contracted to Sporting, Amorim will not hesitate to use the right-back and risk an injury which could see the entire move collapse.

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“Porro does not leave before the game,” Amorim said ahead of Saturday’s Allianz Cup final against Porto. “Clubs have to come first, and as far as I know, a player who is able to play and is signed up by a club, he has to go to games.

“I realise that [negotiations] involve a lot of players’ minds, but the indication I have is that Porro is fit, and the most important thing for me, as a manager, is that if he wasn’t there, there would be someone else. The game cannot be played with just one player. Porro is fit. Whatever has to happen will happen, we are prepared for all scenarios.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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Amorim continued: “Is this Porro’s last game at the club? I don’t know. There are a few days left until February 1, then everyone will know if Porro stays or leaves.

“Porro hasn’t left yet. We are scouting, but not everything is easy, you’re in a real hurry to send Porro away!”

Spurs have repeatedly tried to lower Sporting’s asking price for Porro by including at least one player in the deal, but the Portuguese side have been clear about their determination to hold out for the right-back’s release clause – in full.





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