PARIS, France, June 4 – Substitute Andreas Cornelius scored twice as Denmark recovered from conceding a brilliant goal from Karim Benzema to beat France 2-1 in the UEFA Nations League at the Stade de France on Friday, the first away game since the chaos that tainted the Champions League last weekend. final.
Benzema’s stunning strike put World Cup holders France in the lead six minutes after half-time, only for Trabzonspor striker Cornelius to equalize Denmark midway through the second half , then beat the winner in the 88th minute.
That meant it was a disappointing night for France which also saw Kylian Mbappe and Raphael Varane come off with blows.
There was an almost full house of 75,833 inside the Stade de France, including 1,400 Danish supporters, but the atmosphere outside the pitch before kick-off was calm.
This contrasted sharply with the scenes six days earlier, when serious organizational problems prevented supporters from entering the stadium while many peaceful supporters were gassed ahead of Real Madrid’s 1-0 victory over Liverpool in the La Liga final. Champions League.
European football’s governing body UEFA on Friday issued an apology to those spectators for what it admitted was a “frightening and distressing” experience for those involved.
Due to the pandemic, Friday’s game was the French national football team’s first match at the stadium without crowd restrictions since November 2019.
Home fans were hoping to see the Blues start with a win as they defended the Nations League title they won last year by beating Spain in the final.
It was the first of four matches they will play this month in Ligue A, Group 1 before their players could go on holiday, and the game didn’t really come alive in the first half.
– Mbappé, Varane stand out –
France, whose coach Didier Deschamps was absent following the death of his father, then suffered a major blow when Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe came to a halt with an apparent knee just before the pause.
He failed to reappear after the break, with Christopher Nkunku taking his place, and the RB Leipzig forward played a part in the opening goal in the 51st minute.
Benzema, on the same pitch where he won the Champions League with Real Madrid last weekend, collected the ball on the right, played a one-two with Nkunku and left the Danish defense for dead before slotting in on the occasion of his 95th selection.
The home side then saw Manchester United centre-back Varane also hobble, with William Saliba replacing him, and Denmark capitalized as they turned the game around.
Cornelius hadn’t been on the pitch long when he appeared completely unmarked in the box to apply a first finish using Pierre-Emile Hojberg’s floating assist.
Hugo Lloris fended off Andreas Skov Olsen’s raspy drive shortly after, before N’Golo Kante crashed into the woodwork at the other end.
Eriksen then squandered a great chance to put the opposing team ahead in the 86th minute as Lloris denied his former Tottenham Hotspur team-mate from close range.
However, the Danes won it moments later as Cornelius beat the offside trap before crossing and holding off Saliba to somehow shoot past Lloris from a tight angle.
The result is a warning for France, who will be in the same group as Denmark at the World Cup in Qatar later this year.
The teams will be in action again in the Nations League on Monday with France in Croatia and Denmark in Austria.