France Back To Winning Ways After Griezmann Double


France ended a five-game winless streak after beating visitors Finland 2-0 courtesy of a double from Antoine Griezmann during their FIFA World Cup Group D qualifier at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon, France.

After two 1-1 draws against Bosnia and Ukraine, France coach Didier Deschamps started with an usual 5-2-3 formation with Leo Dubois and Theo Hernandez as fullbacks and Griezmann, Anthony Martial and Benzema up front.

Finland had the first clear chance through Urho Nissila, whose floating strike was tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. In the 25th minute, Griezmann found the back of the net when he whipped the ball past goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky with the outside of his foot after collecting a clever deflection in the box by Benzema.

France forward Antoine Griezmann (7) scores against Finland during World Cup qualifier

Finland continued to threaten on the break, but France proved clinical early in the second half.

After some more nice work from Benzema, Dubois found Griezmann in the area and the forward sneaked the ball between Hradecky and the left-hand post to give the hosts some breathing space in the 53rd.

Antoine Griezmann of France celebrates his goal during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between France and Finland at Groupama Stadium

Griezmann has now scored 41 international goals to become France’s joint third all-time top scorer alongside Michel Platini.

Shortly afterwards, Martial missed Hernandez’s cross for what would have been France’s third. France controlled the end game, keeping the ball high on the pitch and creating a few chances as the match finished 2-0.

Griezmann’s partnership with Karim Benzema bore fruit in satisfying fashion to put the world champions on 12 points from six matches at the top of the group.

“Even it was not perfect we showed determination and with that came some more technical quality,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.

“We had more confidence, it was more like us. It’s a very important result for us, now we have to finish the job in November.”

Finland, who had a decent opening half, are third on five points but have two games in hand on the French. Bosnia are fourth on three points from four games after a 2-2 draw with bottom side Kazakhstan, who also have three points. Ukraine are second on five points from as many matches.

UEFA World Cup Qualification results 

Azerbaijan 0-3 Portugal

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Serbia

Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-2 Kazakhstan

France 2-0 Finland

Austria 0-1 Scotland

Denmark 5-0 Israel

Faroe Islands 2-1 Moldova

Montenegro 0-0 Latvia

Netherlands 6-1 Turkey

Norway 5-1 Gibraltar

Croatia 3-0 Slovenia

Russia 2-0 Malta

Slovakia 2-0 Cyprus

Chidi Nwoke/Reuters.

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