the Blues qualified for the Euro 2020 … but shaken up by Moldova

Already assured of qualification, the France team has won little (2-1) and takes the lead of his group, for its penultimate match of the playoffs.

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Benjamin Pavard, after opening the Moldavian score, November 14 in Saint-Denis. BERTRAND GUAY / AFP

The Blues might have had to predict their lap of honor before the kickoff. They already had the insurance to qualify for the Euro 2020 even before their entry on the lawn. It was acquired earlier in the evening, since the score (0-0) of Turkey – also qualified – against Iceland.

The Blues still celebrated their victory. But not what to strut very long, after this success very small, very late (2-1) on Moldova. The kind of match that the team of France will quickly try to forget everything, except that it won on Thursday, November 14, in the cold of Saint-Denis. The kind of match that still allows to take the first place in Group H qualifiers, just ahead of Turkey, three days of a last trip to Albania.

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The reigning world champions will be satisfied. They knew already fallible, for having lost in June at the Turks (2-0). But no doubt they imagined another start to the match on Thursday night against Moldova, which led to the score of 9e at the 35e minute. Yes, Moldova, this nation yet 175e in the world ranking, this team beaten 4-1 in the first leg, this opponent whose new coach, Engin Firat (Turkish …), was living his first match since taking office tonight.

Lack of inspiration

An opponent "Transfigured"said Didier Deschamps afterwards. The French coach could say the same of his own team, but in the opposite direction, so his players seemed hesitant, lack of offensive inspiration, including Kylian Mbappé. Their first period? "Very complicated, insufficient compared to what we are able to do. " The second ? A little better, but without really removing the feeling of having seen play a collective often "Too static, with not enough movement, availability".

In the absence of brio, this qualification also rewards a good attendance: the team of France is now preparing to play its thirteenth major competition in a row, whether it is the Euro or the World Cup. It may seem self-evident, but Didier Deschamps knows no. The coach has already experienced the dam (successful) against Ukraine in 2013, prior to the World Cup in Brazil. Just like the former player had lived, this time on the field, the playoffs (well missed, them) of 1993: these games lost against Israel, then Bulgaria, the Parc des Princes, and this eviction even before the beginning of the "World Cup" in the United States …

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Didier Deschamps knows something else. He can always count on Olivier Giroud. " Hope it lasts ! " The center forward does not play in his club, or so little: barely twenty minutes with the Londoners Chelsea since his previous match in France team. But the center forward scores in France team. The penalty for the victory against Moldova, in the second half, eleven minutes from the end, after a foul on Lucas Digne, it's him. The one against Iceland a month earlier (1-0), it was him too.

Injured patients

Giroud had already shown its utility during the 2018 World Cup, without even having to score any goal for it. Since the title, the blue collective has changed little. That means, we do not change a team that wins a World Cup. Some retouches, however, to deal with the many wounded in recent months. Against Moldova, were still missing Hugo Lloris, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez, Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi …

Clément Lenglet (Barcelona) made his international debut only this year. The central defender played his sixth international match against Moldova. Not the most successful, his two bad raises of the head leading to the opening of the score, by Vadim Rata. "He must not be guilty of guilt", relativizes Didier Deschamps.

With the same propensity to the diplomatic language, Raphael Varane, his captain, author of the equalization in the first period, prefers especially to retain the "Very good result" evening. The qualification, and nothing else. Not even his equalizer, of the head, after a free kick by Antoine Griezmann. A contentious goal, according to Engin Firat. The coach of Moldova wants Olivier Giroud, he accuses of having embarrassed beyond measure his goalkeeper, Alexei Koselev. He also wants the referee, for validating this goal " unacceptable. "

Thursday night, some 70,000 spectators still had to attend the last game of the year at home. It's a lot, during the week, against an opponent as modest as Moldova and for a qualification even before kick-off. Especially for the proposed show.


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