France were picked for top spot in most World Cup 2018 Group C predictions and are in good shape to justify that faith after two straight wins.
After adding a 1-0 triumph over Peru to a 2-1 defeat of Australia, Les Bleus were cut to 9/50 to finish at the summit.
However, Denmark can still pip them to first place after beating Peru 1-0 and drawing 1-1 against Australia and they are 7/2 to progress as pool winners.
Australia need to beat Peru and hope Denmark lose versus France to stand a chance of going through, while also needing a two-goal swing, and the Socceroos are 9/2 to make the knockout rounds.
Standings Group A
France have been workmanlike rather than spectacular so far but Didier Deschamps considers it a case of job done by making the last 16.
Kylian Mbappe’s first-half strike proved enough to edge out Peru at the Ekaterinburg Arena.
Deschamps said: “We are in the knockout stages, so we are very satisfied.
“We played a better game in the first half – it was more fluid and flowing. However, we were solid after the break, which helped us get this result.
“The defending doesn’t just come from the defence – the attacking players helped the team be more compact.”
Los Incas can no longer advance but coach Ricardo Gareca is determined to try and send their fanatical fans home on a high note.
He said: “We thank the Peruvian fans so much for the great support in Russia.
“We left everything on the field against two very tough opponents. But this does not end here, we are going to close the World Cup with the same attitude.”
|France vs Australia||2 - 1||Kazan Arena|
|Peru vs Denmark||0 - 1||Mordovia Arena|
|Denmark vs Australia||1 - 1||Samara Arena|
|France vs Peru||1 - 0||Ekaterinburg Arena|
|Australia vs Peru||0 - 2||Fisht Stadium|
|Denmark vs France||0 - 0||Luzhniki Stadium|
Tottenham star Christian Eriksen fired in a stunning goal to put Denmark ahead against Australia but a Mile Jedinak penalty kept the Socceroos’ hopes alive.
Like with the narrow loss to France, Australia coach Bert van Marwijk was again left frustrated by his side’s inability to take their chances when on top.
“The conclusion is we have one point and we deserve four,” the Dutchman said.
“Beside the first 15 minutes, we played well, had chances to win and deserved to win, so I am disappointed.
“We played very well and created chances and it is an unbelievable pity that we didn’t score.”
Denmark boss Age Hareide felt his players tired in the second half of Thursday’s clash but is hoping they can be more compact versus France.
He said: “We lost the ball too often, faced too many counter-attacks and had to do too much running.
“We used up a lot of strength. But that’s the World Cup – it’s very tough and that’s just the way it is.
“The level of effort from my team was good. We just gave the ball away too often and made too many wrong choices.”