Divided loyalties at the 2022 World Cup: Who will win the battle of familiar foes?
Mathieu Carlier has lived in Copenhagen since 2004. He and his Danish wife Lotte have two daughters: Chloé and Camille.
Mathieu grew up in the era of Michel Platini, Dominique Rocheteau and Alain Giresse, the mainstays of a squad that made the semi-finals of the World Cup in 1982 and 1986 and won Euro 1984.
Since then, he has always watched French games with a lot of passion and optimism.
Used to one another
Denmark and France are used to facing each other in the World Cup group stage, having already met one another in 1998, 2002 and 2018. On two of those occasions, both teams progressed.
But given their growing injury list, the defending champions have a lot to do to defend their title, whereas Denmark are always a threat.
The pair met one another recently in the Nations League, with Denmark winning both games, and few French people will forget how the Danes delivered the final coup de grâce to the defence of their 1998 crown.
Do you intend to watch the game with your family?
Yeah, we will be at home celebrating it – probably with some friends and a good appetiser.
Would you say that one of you will be louder than the other in your support?
That will be me! At the start of the game, my wife is really excited, but she often leaves the room when things don’t go as she wants.
How do you feel when Denmark and France face each other?
It’s always a nervous and tense moment for me. Denmark and France met in September and lost 2-0. Some Danes taunted me afterwards, and I was disappointed, even though it’s always in a good spirit.
There are a lot of injured players, are you worried about your team for the event?
Well, I think it will be really hard, I’m a bit pessimistic. We definitely have a lack of team-building. Fortunately, we have a lot of great players, but we have to remember the curse of the defending champions and be humble.
There’s a bit of a split in the family in terms of allegiance. How does it play out at home?
My wife is supporting Denmark, so that will be intense on game day. The kids grew up in Denmark, so I think they will be for the Danes, but they generally go for the team who wins. I feel sometimes a bit alone, being the only man in the family.
Who will be the most upset by a loss?
Clearly me. The Danes are not favourites, so they don’t have a lot of pressure on them in this game, whereas we expect a lot from the French team.
What do you think the final score will be?
That won’t be easy, I hope that France will win 1-0 thanks to a Mbappé goal.