Denmark, who are second, have four points and will be content with a point to ensure their passage. Although if the Danes lose heavily to France and Australia beat Peru convincingly, then Australia will advance to the last 16 for the first time since 2006.
"We are not going to give Denmark a helping hand,” said France coach Dider Deschamps. “Our goal is to guarantee first place and two results – a win or a draw - will allow that.
‘I would never say to my team that we're playing for a draw. I want my team to go out onto the pitch without any ambiguity and to do everything to win this match."
Denmark failed to emerge from the group stages during their most recent visit to the World Cup in 2010 and progress to the knockout stages would be viewed as an honourable campaign for a squad featuring eight players from clubs in England’s top two divisions as well as three in the German Bundesliga.
“Had we been offered four points after two matches, we would have taken it,” said Denmark goalkeeper Kaspar Schmeichel on the eve of the match. “Had we beaten Australia, it would have been easier for us. But we didn’t and we have our fate in our own hands so we are very pleased.”
Denmark coach Age Hareide echoed his France counterpart Deschamps with a rallying call to his players. “A draw can’t be enough,” he said. “I know we only need one point but that’s not a good way to start a match. If that’s in the players heads, there will be passiveness in the team and that is not good.”
France, touted as one of the favourites for the title, are aiming to reach the knockout stages for the second consecutive tournament.
But the side has failed to impress in its two Group C outings. They struggled past Australia 2-1 in the opening game and a Kylian Mbappé goal scraped them past Peru on 21 June in Ekatarinburg. However the game was notable for two personal milestones. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris won his 100th cap for his country and Mbappé became at 19 years, six months and one day, France’s youngest goalscorer at a World Cup competition.