Paris: France finally celebrated winning the World Cup with their home fans here Sunday after Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud both scored in a 2-1 win over the Netherlands.
Giroud swept in the winner from a Benjamin Mendy cross in the 75th minute for his first goal in 11 games in a France shirt, after the Chelsea striker went through the entirety of his country’s triumphant campaign in Russia without scoring.
On their first appearance on home soil since the World Cup, teenager Mbappe had earlier put France ahead in an explosive performance from the 19-year-old, before Ryan Babel briefly restored parity in the second half for the Oranjes .
The Stade de France exploded in celebration at Giroud’s winner in a game that had a competitive edge as part of UEFA’s new Nations League.
“The victory was the most important thing, so we can have a great party,” coach Didier Deschamps told television station ‘M6’. “I am really pleased for Olivier. Strikers can have periods like that where they are not as efficient, but he is useful in our build-up play, he scored a lovely goal, and on top of that it gave us the victory,” added the coach.
Meanwhile Christian Eriksen scored twice to lead Denmark to a 2-0 win over Wales in their Nations League opener at Aarhus ending a week of turmoil for the national team on a high note.
The Danish FA (DBU) was forced to field a scratch side made up of third-tier and futsal players for Wednesday’s friendly against Slovakia following a contract dispute over image rights with the regular internationals who helped Denmark reach the last 16 in this year’s World Cup.
The parties reached a short-term agreement Thursday to allow the players to return. The Welsh fans chanted ‘you’re only here for the money’ but that did not faze the Danes as Eriksen scored the opening goal after half-an-hour with a low shot into the bottom left corner of the net.
Eriksen added the second with a 63rd-minute penalty following a handball by Wales defender Ethan Ampadu.
Welsh captain Gareth Bale went close to pulling a goal back in the 83rd minute when his deflected shot forced Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichel into an acrobatic save.