Who? Denmark - France
Where? Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
When? June 26, 16:00 (CET local time)
One Instagram post in the last week is worth a full throwback for Denmark. It was in June 24, 1998, 20 years ago. Denmark met France for the last match of the group stage, knowing that a draw will be enough to qualify for the next stage. Even though that France eventually defeated them, Denmark quailed since South Africa failed to win in their game.
This memory was posted by Peter Schmeichel, the legendary goalkeeper of Denmark in that World Cup. Peter will sit comfortably while his son, Kasper, will try to do the same with Denmark in 2018. Kasper showed in this World Cup more than once why he is worth the place as a leading goalkeeper not only in Denmark, but also in a league like the Premier League.
It took a long time until Kasper Schmeichel reached this peak. Kasper failed to impress, played in some of lowest levels, such Scottish team Falkirk and League Two side Notts County. In 2012 he arrived to Leicester. It took three seasons in the Championship and one more season in the Premiership bottom, until he finally found himself in his greatest moment.
The marvelous 2016 season, the year that Leicester City surprised the world all the way to the English title, was Kasper's moment. With one of the most impressive defensive record in the league and his first championship title, Kasper could feel some of the glory that his father had.
Today, it's clear that Kasper will not be close to Peter's achievements. Maybe he will never reproduce the iconic somersault from 1999 Champions League final, but Kasper can do something else. He can still make a decent journey with Denmark in the World Cup. If that will happen, Kasper Schmeichel may have a special place in the Danish football hall of fame, right next to his father.
Didier Deschamps and France can be satisfied enough with their way until now. With 6 points in their first matches, Les Bleus are already thinking about the next stage. The calculations are now updated to see whether it will better to be in the first or the second place, after Argentina might fail to reach the round of 16.
France and Denmark met a few times in the past during the World Cup. Except from 1998, the teams also played each other in the 2002 World Cup, also in the last match day. Denmark won 2:0 in a game that was the grand finale for one of the worst World Cups in the history of France. 16 years later, France are in a completely different position.
One of the amazing facts about France is about their second consecutive knockout stage appearance. Amazingly, it happened only once before, in 1982 and 1986. For years France failed to impress for two World Cups in a row. Notably, we can mention their two group stage eliminations in 2002 and 2010, four years after reaching the World Cup final.
France are always favorites in these matches. Now all they have to do is enjoy the game and check what will be their destiny in the future of this World Cup.