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UEFA Nations League 2022: Denmark upset defending champions France 2-1 in opener

Denmark made a bright start in Saint-Denis, almost scoring within five minutes when Joakim Maehle fired against a post after Kasper Dolberg had scampered beyond the home defence inside the penalty area.

UEFA Nations League 2022: Denmark upset defending champions France 2-1 in opener

Andreas Cornelius struck twice to earn Denmark a deserved win in UEFA Nations League Group Al after Karim Benzema had put the hosts ahead. Denmark came from behind to beat the holders 2-1 and earn an opening victory at Stade de France on Friday (June 3).

Denmark made a bright start in Saint-Denis, almost scoring within five minutes when. Joakim Maehle fired against a post after Kasper Dolberg had scampered beyond the home defence inside the penalty area.

That scare spurred the holders into action, if not ruthlessness. Kylian Mbappe's curling shot into Kasper Schmeichel's arms from distance was as close as Les Bleus came in a first half defined by the visitors' energetic press and readiness to close down space, cutting off the supply line for last season's Ligue 1 top scorer and strike partner Karim Benzema.

Mbappe did not emerge for the second half after appearing to pick up a knock shortly before the break and his replacement, Christopher Nkunku, provided the moment of brilliance France needed to unlock Denmark's defence.

After collecting a pass on the right, Benzema found the Leipzig livewire inside the penalty area, and his improvised return ball allowed the Real Madrid forward to bewilder his markers with an expert touch before slotting a low finish beyond Schmeichel from close range.

That beautiful goal briefly handed France the momentum, only for Denmark's dogged chasing in enemy territory to pay dividends again. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg made it count, turning to direct an inviting cross into the path of substitute Andreas Cornelius, who had ample space to pick his spot with a volley that sailed beyond Hugo Lloris.

N'Golo Kante almost restored France's lead, curling a glorious effort onto a post from distance, and Christian Eriksen could not hide his frustration after Lloris stopped his shot when the playmaker looked certain to score. Cornelius had no such regrets, storming onto a Maehle through ball and giving Loris no chance for the 86th-minute winner.

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