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France 1-1 Ukraine: Player ratings as Les Bleus flounder against resilient Ukraine

France v Ukraine - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
France v Ukraine - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
Joshua Ojele
ANALYST
Modified 25 Mar 2021
Feature

France opened their FIFA World Cup qualifiers campaign with a disappointing 1-1 draw against Ukraine at the Stade de France on Wednesday night.

France came into this tie aiming to start their 2018 World Cup title defense with a win in the qualifiers of the 2022 tournament and grab all three points against their Ukrainian counterparts.

The last meeting between the two nations was back in October 2020, when Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann inspired France to an emphatic 7-1 win.

Ukraine were aiming to put that shameful defeat behind them and start their charge for their first qualification since 2006 with a win.

In a one-sided first half, Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring for France in the 19th minute. The Barcelona star beat Manchester City’s Zinchenko at the edge of the penalty area before gliding into the box to dispatch his finish expertly.

Giroud came close to doubling France’s lead after Benjamin Pavard whipped in a brilliant cross but, after jumping highest, he failed to keep his header down and on target.

The second half brought no change to the flow of the game, as France continued to dominate proceedings.

However, it was Ukraine who grabbed a shock goal to restore parity in the 57th minute.

Oleksandr Karavayev delivered a fine ball into the path of Serhiy Sydorchuk, whose shot bounced off PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe on its way past Hugo Lloris and into the back of the net.

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France upped the intercity and threw men forward, but the visitors did enough to hold on for a point.

France player ratings

Hugo Lloris 6/10

The France shot-stopper had nothing to do all day as the Ukrainians posed no attacking threat for most of the game. There was nothing he could do about the leveler, as it took a hefty deflection on its way in.

Benjamin Pavard 7/10

A superb show of attacking class from the France full-back. While he was largely undisturbed defensively, he was active in the attack, constantly curling in pinpoint crosses for the frontmen.

Raphael Varane 6/10

A solid outing from the Real Madrid defender. He did well in organizing and orchestrating the France defense, which was set high up the pitch.

He was extremely accurate with his passes, completing almost striking 95% of them as he started most of France’s attack from behind.

Presnel Kimpembe 5.5/10

Despite scoring an own goal on the night, the Paris Saint-Germain defender had an assured outing. He covered expertly for Lucas Hernandez, who often marauded forward to join the attack.

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He finished with one clearance and two tackles and came close to grabbing a dramatic late winner when his thumping header failed to hit the target.

Lucas Hernandez 6/10

Constantly ran tirelessly on the left-wing as he joined up with the frontmen to restore France’s lead. When out of position, he did well to track back and recover, winning three tackles and three interceptions.

N'Golo Kante 7/10

One of the best performers for France. Kante was simply everywhere, diving into tackles, reviving and winning balls, and starting counterattacks. He provided the needed defensive shield in midfield, allowing the front-four to operate freely.

Adrien Rabiot 5/10

The Juventus man started the game a bit off pace and looked to be struggling against the Ukrainian midfielders. He grew into the game as time went by, as he kept play ticking with neat passes, but ultimately failed to make an impact.

Antoine Griezmann 8/10

Scorer of France’s only goal of the night, Griezmann continued the fine form he is in with Barcelona. He linked up well with Giroud, keeping his passes simple and accurate, and was a constant threat to the Ukraine defense.

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Kingsley Coman 5.5/10

While Coman did not perform poorly, he was not exceptional, either. He often struggled to beat his marker, completing just two of six attended dribbles, while winning only two ground duels from 11 attempts.

He should have been awarded a penalty in the first half, however, after he was hacked down by Buschan in the penalty area.

Olivier Giroud 5.5/10

Giroud struggled to hit his stride on the night as he missed two glorious chances he sought to have converted in the first half.

He was decent in the second segment, linking up with his teammates expertly before he was replaced by Paul Pogba in the 63rd minute.

Kylian Mbappe 5/10

A disappointing outing by his standards. Mbappe failed to get into rhythm with his teammates and was sloppy with his play on most occasions. He finished the game with no shot on target and was replaced by Anthony Martial in the 77th minute.

Player ratings for France substitutes

Ousmane Dembele 5/10

He came on shortly after the half-hour mark and France threw more attackers forward hoping to restore their lead. However, he failed to impact the game, completing no dribble and failing to threaten the Ukraine goal.

Paul Pogba 6/10

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Started on the bench as he was recovering from a knock picked up with Manchester United. He came on for Olivier Giroud but made no impact on the game.

Anthony Martial 5/10

He came on for the final 13 minutes of the game and made no telling contribution.

Published 25 Mar 2021, 06:43 IST
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