France top Group C after World Cup's first goalless draw
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France held on to top spot in Group C after a tedious 0-0 draw with Denmark that ensured both teams qualified for the knockout stage, while Asutralia's last hopes of making the cut were crushed in a 2-0 defeat to Peru.
Until Tuesday's tepid draw, thirty-six games in Russia had failed to result in a goalless stalemate. But neither France nor Denmark ever looked like scoring.
Les Bleus were already assured qualification but wanted to qualify in top place to avoid a likely last-16 clash with in-form Croatia, who have dominated Group D.
Denmark could have only been denied qualification had they lost to France and had Australia beaten Peru in the match being simultaneously played in Sochi.
But with the Peruvians leading 2-0 before the hour in that game, the Moscow clash settled down to little more than a canter.
Didier Deschamps' side dominated possession but once again their formidable attack struggled to create any clear-cut chances against the determined Danes.
France have scored just three times in three games in Russia, including a penalty and an own goal, and it was another disjointed display from one of the title favourites.
Loud jeers from a sold-out crowd of 78,011 greeted the final whistle although it was a result that suited both sides as Denmark, now unbeaten in 18 matches, reached the latter stages of the World Cup for the first time since 2002.
France will discover their opponents in the next round later on Tuesday, with Lionel Messi's Argentina needing to beat Nigeria to book a last-16 showdown with the French.
While Australia entered their last group game with an outside chance of advancing, Peru killed off any hopes for the Socceroos as they eased to a 2-0 win in Sochi.
A stunning Andre Carrillo volley gave the Andean nation their first World Cup goal in 36 years before captain Paolo Guerrero grabbed a second.
Guerrero set up Carrillo's 18th-minute wonder goal from the edge of the box with a delightful cross, then scored from a deflection five minutes after the interval to send Peru's red-and-white army of fans into ecstasy at the Fisht Stadium.
Although already eliminated, the Peruvians head home on a high note, having grabbed their first World Cup win since their 4-1 defeat of Iran at the 1978 finals in Argentina.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)