Already qualified for Euro 2020, the team of France ends the year on a good note

The Blues finish the playoffs in first place in Group H thanks to a victory (2-0) in Albania more reassuring than that of three days ago on Moldova.

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Antoine Griezmann (white jersey) had not scored with the French team since 7 games, until this goal against Albania in Tirana, Sunday, November 17.
Antoine Griezmann (white jersey) had not scored with the French team since 7 games, until this goal against Albania in Tirana, Sunday, November 17. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

We had left the Blues on the lawn of the Stade de France. And on a curious impression: a very small victory to forget against Moldova (2-1), three days ago, despite the qualification recorded for Euro 2020. We found them a little further east, and more convincing: Sunday, November 17, this time in white jersey, the team of France won its last game of the year in Albania (2-0). A new victory to finish first place in group H qualifiers, ahead of Turkey.

Sunday night, the world champions and vice-champions of Europe did not inaugurate the chrysanthemums, but a football stadium. That of Tirana, Albanian capital, 22,000 well filled seats, and a slightly bumpy lawn. The new national stadium is named after the country's leading airline, which paid for it.

If he has actually noticed the state of the land ("Not great to play"), Antoine Griezmann considers his team " on the right track ". The striker already traces the horizon of the coming year, the Euro that France will play next summer for " try to win it », he recalls at the microphone of TF1.

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End of famine for Griezmann

Griezmann scored this Sunday, and it had become rather rare in the French team: a flat foot on a center of Léo Dubois, right lateral suddenly in position of left winger, in the surface (2-0, 31e minute). The first goal of the Barcelona team in France in eight games and victory over Bolivia (2-0) in Nantes, in June, during the only friendly match of the Blues this year. His thirtieth goal since his international debut.

Griezmann also sent a decisive pass on Sunday, and it was much less rare: a free-kick on the left side for Corentin Tolisso's header and the first-ever goal in blue for midfielder Bayern Munich, who was very upset tonight (1-0). , 8e minute). The seventh decisive pass for Griezmann during the Euro 2020 qualifiers, unequaled performance, all countries combined.

First goal with the French team for Corentin Tolisso, against Albania in Tirana, Sunday 17 November.
First goal with the French team for Corentin Tolisso, against Albania in Tirana, Sunday 17 November. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

This is perhaps an unexpected merit of the team of France: give back to the players in difficulty in their clubs. The observation is obviously worth for Antoine Griezmann, always in phase of adaptation to FC Barcelona. And for Olivier Giroud, in terrible lack of playing time with Chelsea.

In Albania, the two men started again, this time with Wissam Ben Yedder (disappointing, for his part). But no Kylian Mbappé, feverish and stayed on the sidelines, with gloves and cap. Nor of Kingsley Coman, remained in France because of muscular problem.

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New defensive scheme

This last game of the year also had another virtue: to allow Didier Deschamps to experiment with a new scheme. In Tirana, the French defense played three: with Raphaël Varane, Clement Lenglet, despite his responsibility on the Moldovan goal earlier in the week, and Presnel Kimpembe; to help them, two torchbearers on the sides: Léo Dubois and Benjamin Mendy. And not four defenders, as the coach had yet made the habit.

Deschamps is acting partly out of necessity, in the absence of several of his managers, still injured: world champions Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Hernandez in defense, Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi in the middle, but also Hugo Lloris in the cages.

"DD" was tonight his hundredth match in the coaching suit of the Blues, having already experienced such longevity as a player. Provisional summary of the coach: 65 wins, 18 draws and 17 defeats. Of which nine wins in 2019: eight in the qualifiers (Moldova, Iceland, Andorra and Albania) and one in friendly (Bolivia). Only defeat and only draw of the year? Each time against Turkey, the strongest opponent: first in Konya in June (2-0), then in Saint-Denis (1-1) in October, against a background of diplomatic tensions.

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The Blues will have to wait before knowing their future opponents at the Euro. And even the countries where they will play their first round matches of the competition, scheduled in twelve different nations, from June 12 to July 12, 2020.

To date, the Blues are also unaware whether or not they will enter the competition as a seed. Subject to the results of the other groups, Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 November, they could actually switch to the second of the four hats supposed to divide the participants. Draw fixed on November 30 in Bucharest.

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Albania-France: "The Marseillaise" copiously whistled after the quack of the go

The Marseillaise was whistled by the audience at the Kombëtare stadium in Tirana on Sunday (November 17th), before the Euro 2020 qualifying match between Albania and France, two months after the bad Albanian anthem was broadcast at the Stade de France.

A majority of the 22,000 spectators at the new stadium in the Albanian capital, inaugurated for the occasion, whistled the French anthem when it was performed by a local singer.

The anthem of Andorra was broadcast at the Stade de France by mistake, instead of that of Albania, on September 7 before the 4-1 victory of the Blues. This had delayed the kickoff of a few minutes, the time that the quack was repaired and the good hymn played.

French officials, from the president of the FFF to the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, as well as the coach of the world champions, Didier Deschamps, had apologized to their counterparts after this episode.

For this blunder which had caused a delay on the protocol schedule, the French Football Federation (FFF) was inflicted by UEFA a fine of 20 000 euros.


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