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Goal-shy France fail to impress against Ukraine in opening World Cup qualifier

France failed to beat Ukraine in their opening World Cup qualifier
France failed to beat Ukraine in their opening World Cup qualifier
ANALYST
Modified 27 Mar 2021
Feature

France opened their qualification campaign for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a disappointing draw against Ukraine. Despite playing at home, Les Bleus weren’t on top of their game.

Didier Deschamps has a world-class squad at his disposal and, as reigning world champions, a lot is expected of this France team.

Although the hosts got off to a bright start against Ukraine, France quickly fizzled out, allowing their opponents to grow into the game and eventually snatch a draw.

Les Bleus are still in line to finish at the top of Group D, but such dire performances will not be good enough at the tournament, especially with the Euros just around the corner.

Ukraine frustrates goal-shy France

Deschamps’ side was largely dominant in the first half and deservedly took the lead thanks to a wonderful strike from Antoine Griezmann.

The Barcelona forward cut onto his favoured left foot and unleashed a stupendous curling effort that flew into the top left corner. But instead of building on their impressive start, France lost steam.

The front four of Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Kingsley Coman and Kylian Mbappe offered very little in attack, to the frustration of their coach. On paper, this is a line-up that should be able to break any defence.

However, France struggled against Ukraine despite their star-studded squad. Mbappe, Giroud and Coman were all hauled off in the second half after failing to impress.

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Les Bleus ended the game with just three shots on target and were punished when Serhiy Sydorchuk grabbed the equalizer for Ukraine to deny them three points.

Concerns over France's lack of cohesion

Over the last five years, France have boasted one of the best squads in the world. However, the success of the team was built on the squad's ability to operate as a solid unit.

On Wednesday, though, Les Bleus were all over the place. Despite having some brilliant players on the pitch, they rarely played as a team.

"We should have secured the win in the first half, we had the opportunities, it was more difficult in the second half. There was certainly less juice, the goal that we conceded was avoidable, we pushed to the end,” Deschamps noted after the game, as quoted by beIN Sports.
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"I had decided to have a team focused on the offensive but this was not the case. It was not necessarily a match where we got the most chances. We needed more precision and movement," said the French coach.
"We are obviously disappointed, the ideal result would have been to win. It proves that Ukraine is a good nation," he signed off.

With the Euros coming up in a few months, France need to improve if they are to have any chance of winning the tournament.

Published 27 Mar 2021, 14:02 IST
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