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Schmeichel, Poulsen at center of Denmark 1-0 Peru

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  • Denmark goal: Poulsen (59′)
  • Peru misses penalty
  • Next: Denmark-Australia, Peru-France

Yussuf Yurary Poulsen scored a second half goal and Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel made several critical saves as Denmark smashed and grabbed a 1-0 World Cup win in Saransk on Saturday.

Peru found seemingly every manner of way to miss the goal in a dominant performance.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Both teams played with an adrenalized tempo in the first 10 minutes, with Yoshimar Yotun whipping a shot to Kasper Schmeichel in the eighth.

Peru was all over Denmark as the match moved on, with Schmeichel very active against Los Incos.

Denmark captain Simon Kjaer made a terrific block on Andre Carrillo in the 29th minute to keep it scoreless.

Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese made a terrific stop on Jens Stryger Larsen after Christian Eriksen‘s free kick was blocked by the wall.

The CONMEBOL side was given a penalty kick upon Video Assistant Referee review after Christian Cueva saw his ankle caught by Yussuf Poulsen.

But Cueva made a stuttering, disjointed run-up before blazing his effort over the bar.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

Peru bungled chance to take a 57th lead when Cueva cut a rug through the 18 and laid off for Carrillo, whose shot wasn’t good enough to trouble the net.

They’d regret the miss, as RB Leipzig striker Poulsen raced down the left wing and into the box to carve a shot around Gallese.

Peru nearly equalized off the restart, but Schmeichel made an outstanding save. And Jefferson Farfan couldn’t get on the end of a terrific free kick headed back across the Denmark defense in the 69th.

Poulsen was a defensive hero two minutes later, nodding a cross out of play with Paolo Guerrero lurking at the back post. And Schmeichel stopped Luis Advincula a minute after that.

Guerrero nearly spun a backheel effort inside the far post in the 79th. Peru deserved an equalizer, but would it find one. Schmeichel denied Farfan again in the 84th.

A mostly quiet Eriksen was stymied by Gallese soon after the Schmeichel stop. We say mostly…

World Cup, Group C preview: France, Australia, Denmark, Peru

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France: Following a slim quarterfinal loss to Germany in the 2014 tournament, France looks to take the next step behind one of the deepest squads in the world. Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba are among those pushing the attack while N'Golo Kante helps anything coming back the other way. Favorites to win the group comfortably, and perhaps the World Cup as well. READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW

Australia: Solid in midfield with Aaron Mooy and Mile Jedinak and dangerous enough in attack, can the Socceroos limit the danger coming the way of star keeper Mat Ryan of Brighton and Hove Albion? If they do, perhaps a surprising run to second is possible. READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Peru: Their captain’s suspension overturned, one of the most anonymous Top Ten teams in recent memory (Elo Ratings) looks to make a major statement in its first World Cup since the 1970s. READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW

Denmark: Christian Eriksen is the unquestioned focal point of the Danish team, and will enter the tournament with hopes of results against Peru and Australia which deem the finale versus France dead rubber. READ FULL TEAM PREVIEW

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


Who’s going through: France and Peru.

 [ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

Who’s going home: Denmark and Australia.

Marquee match: France versus Peru, June 21 in Yekaterinburg

Top 5 players to watch
1) N’Golo Kante — France
2) Antoine Griezmann — France
3) Paul Pogba — France
4) Christian Eriksen — Denmark
5) Samuel Umtiti — France

Int’l friendlies: Spain top Tunisia; Mexico beaten by Denmark

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The 2018 World Cup is five days away, which means we’re oh so close to no more international friendlies…

[ MORE: USMNT, France draw 1-1 | Player ratings | Three things ]

Tunisia 0-1 Spain

Spain remained unbeaten in 20 matches under new coach Julen Lopetegui, but they needed an 85th-minute goal from 76th-minute substitute Iago Aspas to pull off the victory over Tunisia on Saturday.

Sergio Busquets began the move that unlocked a stubborn, sturdy Tunisian defense by finding Diego Costa, a sub himself on the hour mark, in space behind the backline. Costa took on multiple defenders and the goalkeeper before cutting it back to a late-arriving Aspas near the top of the box. The Celta Vigo man fired it low and hard toward the far post, beating Balbouli for the game’s only goal.

Up next: Spain vs. Portugal (Friday, 2 p.m. ET); Tunisia vs. England (Monday, 2 p.m. ET)

Denmark 2-0 Mexico

Christian Eriksen had himself a game, scoring one and assisting the other, as Denmark topped Mexico in a battle of World Cup-bound sides. Tottenham Hotspur’s prolific Dane found Yussuf Poulsen for the opening goal in the 71st minute, and found the back of the net himself just three minutes later.

Up next: Denmark vs. Peru (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET); Mexico vs. Germany (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET)

France 1-1 USAFULL RECAP

A young U.S. men’s national team took on one of the favorites to lift the World Cup trophy next month, and played Les Bleus to a 1-1 in Lyon. Julian Green took the USMNT’s only shot of the first half game and scored his first senior goal in two years just before halftime, but Kylian Mbappe save Didier Deschamps’ side a bit of embarrassment with a late equalizer.

Up next: France vs. Australia (Saturday, 6 a.m. ET); USA vs. Brazil… in September

Elsewhere in int’l friendlies

Serbia 5-1 Bolivia
Hungary 1-2 Australia
Estonia 1-3 Morocco
Sweden 0-0 Peru

Saturday int’l friendly previews: Denmark vs. Mexico, Hungary vs. Australia

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World Cup squads continue to warm up with just a week to go before the big dance, and there is another full slate of games on Saturday.

France hosts the United States as Didier Deschamps’ squad faces its final test before departing to Russia, while the USMNT has its last of a three-game international break that’s seen a number of young faces get invaluable playing time. Check out the full preview of France vs. United States here.

Elsewhere in the world…

Denmark vs. Mexico

Both these teams have aspirations of reaching the knockout stage, so this should be quite a good test for both teams as to where they stand heading into the tournament. Denmark will need to beat Peru in group stage play, a team that plays a relatively similar style to Mexico. El Tri, meanwhile, has two European sides in its group in the form of Germany and Sweden.

More is riding on this match for Denmark, as they have truly struggled to score of late. In their last five matches, they’ve scored three goals, including a pair of 0-0 draws their last two times out. With nobody else to support Christian Eriksen, it’s been relatively simple for opposing teams to lock down the creative force. Can Age Haride figure out how to give his talisman some help?

Mexico, meanwhile, is incredible defensive form. El Tri has conceded just a single goal over five matches in the 2018 calendar year. It hasn’t been terribly pretty up front, but it’s not exactly cause for alarm just yet.

Hungary vs. Australia

Australia downed a struggling Czech Republic 4-0 last time out, and the Socceroos would head into the World Cup with a serious barrel of confidence if they can achieve a similar result against Hungary. 27-year-old Matthew Leckie scored a pair in that win, and the Hertha winger will prove an important piece to any potential Australia success.

It’s the opposite across the field, where Hungary comes into their final tuneup with just three wins to eight losses in 12 matches since the start of the 2017 calendar year. They’ve dropped game to Kazakhstan and Scotland so far in 2018, most recently playing to a 1-1 draw against lowly Belarus. Manager Georges Leekens has yet to pick up a win since taking over in November, and things aren’t looking up for the National Eleven.

Sweden vs. Peru

Peru is one of the more intriguing sides in the entire 2018 World Cup, and a win over fellow participant Sweden would be a stellar sendoff to the big dance. With captain Paolo Guerrera back in action and needing minutes, look for him to at least make an appearance for the South American side.

[ MORE: 2018 World Cup dark horses ]

Sweden, however, has won just once since topping Italy in their UEFA qualification playoff match. A drab scroeless draw with Denmark did little to quiet the doubters heading into the World Cup, and staring down a tough group with Mexico, Germany, and South Korea, a win over Peru would go a long way towards renewing confidence in the side.

Serbia vs. Bolivia

The Serbian squad desperately needs playing time together, and these 90 minutes will be as important as any. Manager Mladen Krstajic has brought in a number of talented players who haven’t spent much time on the pitch together, and while there’s plenty of excitement surrounding striker Aleksandr Mitrovic, midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and winger Adem Ljajic, the trio have very little game time together in the past few years due to the banishment of the latter pair under previous management.

[ MORE: Serbia World Cup preview ]

SMS in particular has just three caps to his name despite a heaping of potential, and has played just 45 minutes of national team time in 2018. Look for him to see his first full 90 minutes since his international debut in early November.

Tunisia vs. Spain

With Germany sputtering to a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia today, Spain will want to bounce back from a shaky 90 minutes of their own as they visit Tunisia. A first-choice Spain squad drew 1-1 with Switzerland in their last match on Sunday, where they held 65% and popped off 18 shots but managed just a single goal. The top teams aren’t exactly convincing in the last few weeks, but that could be down to experimentation more than anything else.

Israel vs. Argentina

Argentina’s last two years have been a roller coaster ride, there’s no debating. In their last four matches alone, they’ve demolished Haiti 4-0 and passed Italy 2-0, but also lost to Nigeria 4-2 and were stomped by Spain 6-1. A comprehensive and convincing win over Israel would be a good way to enter World Cup play, but there’s no skirting around the fact that Argentina is more of a wild card in the 2018 tournament than they have been in quite some time. Will manager Jorge Sampaoli haul out a strong starting eleven against Israel, or will he rest the starters and put health above all else? He has a lot to sort out, that’s for sure.

2018 World Cup team preview: France

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Getting to know France: Les Bleus come into this tournament as one of the favorties after they came so close to winning EURO 2016 on home soil. In Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann they have one of the most feared strike partnerships in the tournament.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

Didier Deschamps led this young side to the quarterfinals in 2014 and the European Championship final in 2016, but he will be expected to take them to at least the World Cup semifinals this time around. The captain of the French national team for their only World Cup win in 1998 has his work cut out. Find out more about France’s history, here.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 


What group are they in? Group C with Australia, Peru and Denmark. France are the overwhelming favorites to win the group but they will be cautious of Denmark and Peru in particular given their strong defensive unit and gamechangers in Christian Eriksen and Paolo Guerrero respectively. Still, a very decent draw for France.


Game schedule – Group C – Full 2018 World Cup schedule, here

Saturday, June 16: France v Australia, Kazan 6am, ET
Thursday, June 21: France v Peru, Ekaterinburg 11am, ET
Tuesday, June 26: Denmark v France, Moscow (Luzhniki) 10am, ET


Projected lineup (4-3-3) – Check out the 23-man squad list in full

—– Lloris —–

— Pavard — Varane — Umtiti — Mendy —

—— Matuidi —— Kante —— Pogba —— 

—— Mbappe —— Griezmann —— Dembele ——


Star player: Antoine Griezmann – The leading scorer in EURO 2016 has excelled at Atletico Madrid in recent years as there’s no surprise the likes of Barcelona, PSG and Manchester United have all been linked with the feisty forward. Griezmann, 26, is entering his prime and a fine showing at the World Cup would see his value saw further. He has 20 goals in 53 appearances for France but he leads the line superbly and along with Mbappe and Dembele they can interchange across the front three and rip teams apart.


Manager: Didier Deschamps – A second World Cup as manager of France will see expectations much greater than four years ago in Brazil. Deschamps has built this French team into a young, energetic side and several of the players who starred last time out are still in the squad. That said, if Deschamps doesn’t deliver at least a semifinal berth then the likes of Arsene Wenger and Zinedine Zidane are being lined up to take charge of France this summer. That’s harsh but Deschamps knows all of his hard work since taking charge in 2012 depends on how his team play this summer.


Secret weapon: Olivier Giroud – He may feel a little hard done by not to start most games for France given his superb scoring record for his country (31 goals in 73 games to rank fifth all-time) but Giroud is deadly off the bench. Imagine being a defender and locking down Griezmann, Dembele and Mbappe for 75 minutes, only to then see Giroud coming on to bulldoze headers at goal? He’s the perfect Plan B and France must use him wisely.

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Prediction: This feels like the right moment for France to win a big tournament again. They came so close to winning the European Championships in 2016 and they certainly have the attacking and midfield talent to go far. The only concern is in defense with Hugo Lloris making some big areas in the second half of the season at Tottenham, plus young defenders perhaps a little untested at the top level. France should get to the semifinals based on their talent alone but they are capable of having a dramatic collapse as we saw in 2002 and 2010.