Varane back for France in Denmark World Cup clash

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Supporters of Denmark cheer ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between France and Denmark at Stadium 974 in Doha on Saturday. AFP

Raphael Varane returns in one of three changes made by France coach Didier Deschamps for the World Cup holders’ Group D clash with Denmark in Doha on Saturday.

Manchester United centre-back Varane was rested for France’s opening 4-1 win over Australia having not played since suffering a leg injury in a Premier League match against Chelsea a month ago.

He replaces Ibrahima Konate at the heart of the defence, while Barcelona’s Jules Kounde comes in for Benjamin Pavard at right-back and Theo Hernandez starts at left-back after his brother Lucas was ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a serious knee injury.

The rest of the France side is unchanged and striker Olivier Giroud, who scored twice against Australia, needs just one more goal to become his country’s all-time top scorer.

He is currently tied with 1998 World Cup-winner Thierry Henry on 51 goals for Les Bleus.

Meanwhile Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand makes four changes to his team following their opening goalless draw against Tunisia, including altering his entire front line.

Jesper Lindstrom of Eintracht Frankfurt, Andreas Cornelius of FC Copenhagen and Brentford’s Mikkel Damsgaard all come into the attack, while Victor Nelsson replaces Simon Kjaer at the back.

Among those dropping out is midfielder Thomas Delaney, who has been ruled out of the remainder of the competition with a knee injury.

France will qualify for the last 16 with a victory but they were beaten twice by the Danes in the UEFA Nations League earlier this year.

The sides drew 0-0 when they met at the 2018 World Cup.

Starting line-ups

France (4-2-1-3)

Hugo Lloris (capt); Jules Kounde, Raphael Varane, Dayot Upamecano, Theo Hernandez; Aurelien Tchouameni, Adrien Rabiot; Antoine Griezmann; Ousmane Dembele, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe

Coach: Didier Deschamps (FRA)

Denmark (3-4-3)

Kasper Schmeichel (capt); Joachim Andersen, Andreas Christensen, Victor Nelsson; Rasmus Kristensen, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Christian Eriksen, Joakim Maehle; Jesper Lindstrom, Andreas Cornelius, Mikkel Damsgaard

Coach: Kasper Hjulmand (DEN)

Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)

Agence France-Presse

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