Denmark and France played out the first 0-0 draw of this World Cup in Moscow, in a rather dismal affair as both sides looked towards the rounds ahead. France were one of the favourites going into this tournament but have done little to impress so far and will have to step up ahead of the knockout rounds.
France entered this game hoping to emulate Uruguay by picking up maximum points in their group. The results have been flowing for France but there was still a sense that they had an extra gear to find if they want to go far into the competition after some less than spectacular displays.
Denmark, meanwhile, looked likely to join France in the last 16 but still had some work to do in this fixture to ensure qualification. The Danes could also leapfrog France into the top spot by beating France which would drastically alter the nations potential route to the final.
Denmark put France on the back foot from the get-go with Martin Braithwaite in particular causing plenty of problems for the French back line. First bursting into the box and going to ground under minimal contact, his protests were waved away but moments later he forced a corner for his side from a similar position as the Danes looked to set the tone.
There have been more penalties at this World Cup already than at any previous tournament so you can’t blame France and Denmark for trying their luck. Several penalty claims were rightly waved away for both sides inside the first 25 minutes as they struggled to open up the game.
It was a dogged display from both sides resulting in the game becoming bogged down in the middle. Other than the penalty claims and a couple of set pieces, there was nothing much of note produced in the first half hour of the game.
The dour affair continued late into the half until Thomas Lemar picked out the run of Antoine Griezmann, who teed up Olivier Giroud in the centre. The French striker blasted his chance over the bar and was then subjected to a late offside flag but it was the closest either side came in the first half.
Mathias Jorgensen picked up a yellow card for upending Griezmann on the break in the final act of the half. Both sides seemed relatively content with the result as they went in 0-0 at half-time, both on course for the next round.
Neither side made changes at half-time and the second half began very much the same as the first half ended. A second goal for Peru in their fixture against Australia took even more impetus out off the game, with both sides effectively certain to advance.
Around the hour mark, Pione Sisto launched a probing ball into the opposition area that Andreas Cornelius should have done better with. A half clearance from Djibril Sidibe fell to Christian Eriksen on the edge of the box, but even Denmark’s talisman couldn’t produce a decent strike, sending the ball well wide.
With qualification practically secured and France well below par, the game was there for the taking for Denmark, stand in keeper Steve Mandanda was beginning to look shaky after spilling a couple of shots, but the Danes just couldn't find that cutting edge.
Nabil Fekir was introduced to replace Griezmann and he immediately breathed life into the game. A long range effort had the French fans up on their feet before realising Fekir had driven the ball into the side-netting. It was a least a promise of some late drama to come to ignite the tepid encounter.
Denmark responded with an attacking change of their own with Kasper Dolberg replacing Cornelius for the last 15 minutes of the game. The Danes didn’t seem to mind the stale encounter, cheering on every pass as their nation approached the knockout stage for the first time since 2002.
Didier Deschamps decided to have one last roll of the dice with Kylian Mbappe introduced as well for the closing stages. Mbappe threatened with infrequent forays forwards but was still unable to prove the difference between the two sides.
In the end, there was nothing that could save this game as the two sides played out this World Cup's first 0-0 draw. Not all goalless draws are boring, but this one unfortunately was.