Denmark search for right combination to unlock scoring

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group D - France v Denmark - Stadium 974, Doha, Qatar - November 26, 2022 Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand looks dejected after the match REUTERS/Lee Smith

DOHA, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Denmark finally found the back of net at the World Cup in a 2-1 loss to France on Saturday but coach Kasper Hjulmand continues to search for the right combination to unlock the scoring his team will need in their final Group D showdown with Australia.

France became the first team through to the knockout stage following their win at Stadium 974 but the Danes still have plenty of work to do as they need a win over Australia on Wednesday to have any chance of following Les Bleus.

That will require goals and the Danes have found themselves in a scoring drought in the desert.

"You cannot expect to push a button and expect to score a lot of goals," said Hjulmand, whose team have scored only once over two matches this week. "We have a lot of good strikers and we were very close today.

"I really like what we have and... on this team we have a lot of goal scorers.

"All through 2021 we had 18 different goal scorers on the national team so that shows that our goals come from a lot of different players.

"In the World Cup qualification games we had eight wins and 29 goals so we have great strikers with great players all around the pitch that can score."

After a toothless attacking performance in the goalless draw with Tunisia, Hjulmand shook up his attack for France. He brought in Andreas Cornelius for Kasper Dolberg and Jesper Lindstrom for Andreas Skov Olsen, but the changes had little effect as the Danes failed to register a shot on target in the first half.

Searching for a spark up front, Hjulmand again decided to shake things up again by bringing on Martin Braithwaite for Cornelius to start the second half and then later substituting winger Mikkel Damsgaard for Sevilla striker Kasper Dolberg.

Despite the changes the only goal for the Danes came from defender Andreas Christensen, who sneaked in behind the French defence to head home the 1-1 equaliser in the 68th minute.

Hjulmand is confident the goals will come in time to get past Australia.

"Right now we are very disappointed but we will pick up and get back on track for the game on Wednesday," said Hjulmand. "The case is clear we must win the last match and this is what we are ready to do.

"It is make it or break it. We must win."

(This story has been refiled to fix the headline.)

Reporting by Steve Keating in Doha, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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