Kylian Mbappe illuminated France’s World Cup homecoming, while Olivier Giroud ended his international goal drought to help seal a 2-1 Nations League win over the Netherlands.
France 2-1 Netherlands
Mbappe drew two early saves from Jasper Cillessen before becoming the beneficiary of some dreadful Netherlands defending.
A couple of botched clearances from Babel and Daley Blind were compounded when Quincy Promes headed into Blaise Matuidi’s path, leaving Mbappe to tap in the Juventus midfielder’s low cross.
By the time the hour passed, France had allowed a position of strength to drift and did not heed the warning of Georginio Wijnaldum bustling into the box to drag wastefully wide.
Kenny Tete charged into space down the right, beyond the recently introduced Mendy, and the on-rushing Babel dispatched his fine delivery at the near post.
Memphis Depay then lashed into the side netting, with the Lyon star wasting another promising position in the 71st minute.
France’s response was decisive, although the previously impressive Cillessen will be disappointed to have palmed Giroud’s left-footed effort into the net.
Denmark 2-0 Wales
Christian Eriksen brought Wales crashing back down to earth as the midfielder settled a scrappy Nations League encounter 2-0 in Denmark’s favour.
Ryan Giggs’ side had dismantled the Republic of Ireland in the group opener days earlier, but against Denmark – at full strength after resolving their sponsorship row – they lacked a cutting edge.
Gareth Bale, wearing the captain’s armband, struggled to influence play and Eriksen instead proved the difference with a fine first-half strike and a penalty after the break.
This functional Denmark side profited on the occasional Welsh mistake to take two big chances, handing out a lesson in competitive internationals to opponents depending again on young talents like Ethan Ampadu.
In other Nations League Results:
Cyprus 2-1 Slovenia
Ukraine 1-0 Slovakia
Bulgaria 1-0 Norway
Georgia 1-0 Latvia
Macedonia 2-0 Armenia
Lichtenstein 2-0 Gibraltar