The second round of international fixtures began with multiple Madridistas involved for their respective sides. Here is a recap of France and Denmark game featuring a contingent of Madridistas.
Austria 0-1 France
By: Yash Thakur
France were up against Austria in their second game of the UEFA Nations League. Les Bleues won 2-0 against Portugal in their first game with goals from Grace Geyoro and Selma Bacha.
Herve Renard made a couple of changes and brought in Amandine Henry and Clara Mateo in place of Grace Geyoro and Real Madrid’s Sandie Toletti. They lined up in a 4-2-3-1 with a double pivot of Henry and Oriane Jean-Francois. The former often deputised as the deepest midfielder and offered as the outlet in the first phase.
Austria were in a 4-1-4-1 shape with a midfield of Sarah Puntingham, Sarah Zadrazil and Laura Feiersinger. Barbara Dunst and Katherina Naschenweng were the two wide options in attack for Irene Fuhrmann’s side.
Austria applied pressure early on but Wendie Renard scored inside the first five minutes after her header from Selma Bacha’s freekick bounced in front of Austrian goalkeeper, Manuela Zinsberger, who failed to parry it and bundled it into her own net.
Where Zinsberger struggled, the French goalkeeper, Picaud, wasn’t tested much but came out with some outrageous moments in the game, most notably heading a looping ball towards her defenders in the second half almost non-chalantly.
The game was pretty uneventful for the remaining 85 minutes as France never ceded control and Austria lacked the incisive edge to cause problems in the final third of the pitch. France circulated possession very well between the midfielders and wide players.
Sandie Toletti did not start the game was named among the substitutes. She came on for the last 15 minutes replacing Henry and had a very professional outing. She was tidy with her passes and circulated the ball well. Didn’t have too much 1v1 defending to do in the last 15 but looked composed as Austria tried to throw the kitchen sink at France towards the end.
France make it two wins in two games in the UEFA Nations League while keeping two cleansheets and have the upper hand in their group in League A.
Wales 1-5 Denmark
By: Yash Thakur
Denmark were off the back of a sensational 2-0 win over Germany in their first UEFA Nations League game and a win against Wales would give them an advantage in their group. Wales suffered a defeat against Iceland in their first game.
The Danes were in a similar setup under their new manager Andree Jeglertz. They started in a 4-2-3-1/4-4-2 with Real Madrid’s Sofie Svava starting as the most advanced player on the left and Pernille Harder being the main attacking threat through the middle.
Wales were in their typical 4-1-4-1 formation with Sophie Ingle sitting at the base of that midfield and Jess Fishlock making runs into the box from the second line. Fishlock was particularly influential in off-the-ball scheme as well. Major chance creation did come from down the flanks for the Welsh side.
Denmark’s idea in possession was novel. Jeglertz used Harder to create overloads on the left by having her drop deep into the left spaces before switching the ball towards the right hand side and attacking at the far post. Svava was a part of this scheme by initially holding width and later on attacking the far post.
Harder opened the scoring in the sixth minute from the spot before doubling the lead in the 11th minute. The second goal was a good example of working up the attack on the right before putting a cross in and attacking the ball at the far post. Harder and Svava were the main beneficiary as the other striker, Vangsgaard, was often seen dropping deep or drifting wide on the right-hand side.
Svava helped restore the two-goal lead in the second half after Jess Fishlock had reduced the deficit to just one goal with a brilliant strike of her own. Svava danced her way past one defender before putting a cross into the six-yard box for the Frederike Thogersen to head into the back of the net.
Wales had come close to equalizing before the third goal was scored but that third goal deflated Gemma Grainger’s side.
Denmark added a fourth after two substitutes combined to produce a goal. Sanne Troelsgaard made it four in the 87th minute when she headed home the parried save after the initial effort by Nicole Sorensen was saved. It was a great header powered into the back of the net by the veteran.
Harder had to wait long before getting her hattrick as she bundled home the ball from close range after Signe Bruun’s initial first-time volley hit the crossbar. The Danes cruised to victory and secured their position at the top of the table ahead of Germany in their group. This win makes it two wins in two under new manager Jeglertz.
Svava picked up an assist for the third Danish goal and overall looked good in that wide midfielder/winger role. She was consistently making those runs in behind to latch onto the balls or arriving at the far post to meet crosses from the right-hand side. Playing in an advanced role and running in behind the backline allows her to showcase her crossing talents. With Harder dropping into that left space meant Svava only got involved in the second and third phases of play. She was substituted in the 83rd minute.
Signe Bruun came on in the 66th minute replacing PSG Amalie Vangsgaard. While a striker herself, Bruun often drifted wide and initially did take up a wide right position and allowed Harder to operate through the middle. In a similar fashion to previous game where she came close to scoring but was called offside, here Bruun had an excellent attempt at goal as well. Her first-time volley hit the crossbar in the dying minutes and was bundled home by Harder for her hattrick. The Danish striker has looked threatening every time she has been on the pitch but the goals are not flowing just yet, but the signs are very encouraging.