Hareide defends dour Denmark

Denmark got the point it needed to qualify but its approach against France won it few friends, prompting Age Hareide to respond.

Denmark coach Age Hareide   -  Getty Images

Denmark boss Age Hareide defended his tactics after a dour goalless draw against France that was greeted with boos and jeers at full-time in Moscow.

The Danes needed a point to be sure of qualifying from Group C and got it by stifling a second-string French team in a match low on goalmouth action.

The crowd at the Luzhniki Stadium were unimpressed but Hareide was unrepentant.

"We just needed one point, we were up against one of the best teams in the world at counter-attacks, so we would have been stupid to give space to France," he said.

"We played to get the result we needed, it was 0-0 and we are very pleased with that. When you're in a situation where you need one point, the thing that is very important is discipline and we succeeded in that.

"This was the first game in which we wanted to be compact at the back and not press high. It's very satisfying that we were as disciplined as we were."

France will go far

Denmark finished with five points from its three pool matches - two fewer than France - and Hareide was satisfied with how the team approached the job in hand.

He added: "Our goal was to come here and progress to the last 16. We had a tough group and if you look at the teams we played it was one of the toughest. The team who only got three points, Peru, perhaps played the best football.

"It was a wonderful performance from the boys, they sacrificed everything to get us to the next phase."

Hareide moved Andreas Christensen into a holding midfield role against Les Bleus, the Chelsea man having started the previous two games against Peru and Australia in a more accustomed defensive position.

And it is something the Denmark head coach would rule out doing again.

"I'd like to see Andreas as a holding midfielder, a number six," Hareide said.

"At Chelsea he plays at the back. It's tougher to play in the middle but he can do it, it was a good performance from him, he gave us the cover we needed."

Before the game Hareide denied quotes attributed to him in which he criticised France, in particular Paul Pogba, and he was effusive in his praise of Didier Deschamps' men.

"Both individually and collectively, the French team is very skilful, they will go far in this competition," said the Norwegian.

"Some of the big teams, Germany, Argentina, others have had problems, but France I am certain will come up as an outsider for the title.

"They are getting better and better as they move forward, they will go into the last 16 and then the big games will start."

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