We are not frightened of Mbappe - Denmark coach Hjulmand

By Sports Desk November 25, 2022 927

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand is not frightened by Kylian Mbappe but conceded there is only so much you can do to stop the France striker.

Mbappe scored in Les Bleus' 4-1 win against Australia in their World Cup Group D opener on Tuesday and looked razor sharp alongside Olivier Giroud.

Hjulmand's men ground out a goalless draw against Tunisia, although keeping another clean sheet against the defending champions may be trickier to achieve.

Asked if he was frightened at the thought of trying to keep Mbappe quiet, Hjulmand replied: "I don't think it's good to be frightened. We have plans to stop him. At Parken [in September] we had a good plan, a good structure. He had two or three chances and no matter what plans you have against top players, you can't keep them down.

"We have carried out plenty of analysis to try to minimise his impact, we don't want him to show the talent he has."

Hjulmand is hoping some insider knowledge will also help stifle France's threat with captain Simon Kjaer a team-mate of Giroud at Milan.

He added: "I hope it's an advantage. A player like Giroud is very good at what he does. It's a pleasure seeing so many strikers in the latter stages of their careers showing how to move in the box, showing how to be dangerous in their positioning and showing how to finish in the box.

"Giroud is better now than he was before, he is very dangerous. Simon knows him very well and we have been talking about the small details."

Denmark enjoyed back-to-back wins against Didier Deschamps' side in the Nations League earlier this year but Hjulmand knows facing them at a World Cup is a different proposition.

"We have tested them a couple of times but this is a different tournament," he said. "But we know that if we play our best we have a chance of getting a good result.

"To be able to do that, we have to take a big step forward in quality from the first match."

Denmark and France kick off six hours after the other Group D encounter between Australia and Tunisia, and Hjulmand admitted the result of that game could affect his approach to the game.

"I won't watch that game, but I will obviously know the outcome as it will influence how we approach our game," he said.

"I am only really talking about the last 25 minutes. We are focused on winning the match but the other game will influence our approach."

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Last modified on Friday, 25 November 2022 13:26
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