Moscow (AFP) – France coach Didier Deschamps insisted his side had “achieved their goal” on Tuesday, after a drab 0-0 draw with Denmark in Moscow secured top spot in World Cup Group C.
Deschamps made six changes to the starting XI that beat Peru 1-0 and his side happily played out a mutually beneficial stalemate with Denmark, which saw the Scandinavians reach the last 16 for the first time since 2002.
“The goal is achieved. It was difficult for us too, because the teams have been very well prepared,” the 1998 World Cup-winner told French TV channel TF1.
“Facing blocks (of defenders), staying tight, it’s never easy. I made changes as well, which hurts team cohesion but it’s good for all the players to feel involved.”
A 2-1 victory over Australia and the win against Peru had already seen France into the knockout rounds, but they have been unconvincing so far in Russia despite being one of the pre-tournament favourites.
Antoine Griezmann, who was top-scorer at Euro 2016, was again a peripheral figure and failed to even complete a pass to strike partner Olivier Giroud.
“There was no need to take any undue risks,” said Deschamps. “The result suits both teams even if we had the opportunity to win this game.”
France will next face the runners-up from Group D, which could be any of Croatia, Nigeria, Argentina and Iceland.
“We are waiting to see what we are capable of in the following matches because we will have to raise the level of play, and test ourselves,” said centre-back Raphael Varane.