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Kazakhstan 0-2 France: 5 talking points as world champions eke out unconvincing win | 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

France overcame Kazakhstan to pick up their first win of the qualifying campaign.
France overcame Kazakhstan to pick up their first win of the qualifying campaign.
Sachin Bhat
ANALYST
Modified 28 Mar 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

France got their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign up and running after an unconvincing 2-0 win over minnows Kazakhstan. A sensational effort from Ousmane Dembele followed by an own goal from Serhiy Malyi helped Les Blues to three points at the Astana Arena.

The reigning world champions were once again not up to par, with Kylian Mbappe coming off the bench and missing a penalty late on.

Didier Deschamps' side were frustrated by the Hawks, as they didn't let France create too many opportunities and had to rely on counter-attacks.

One such occasion even resulted in a knock for a surging Anthony Martial, who limped off with a possible injury.

France would eventually be content with the victory, but Deschamps won't be too happy with his team's performance on the night.

On that note, here are five talking points from the match:


#1 France still not at their absolute best

France improved from their last game but were still not impressive enough.
France improved from their last game but were still not impressive enough.
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France may have picked up their first win of the ongoing qualifying campaign, but they weren't impressive in the game by any means.

A quality strike and a defensive mistake helped them seal three points.

Purely from a performance standpoint, the reigning world champions just weren't up to snuff, despite some promising counter-attacking moves.

Could the players be fatigued from a hectic club schedule this season? Probably, they lacked the cutting edge in attack despite mustering nine shots on target and looked devoid of ideas despite dominating possession.

Didier Deschamps might be content with taking home all three points, but his side ought to find their mojo with the all-important Euros lurking around the corner.


#2 Serhiy Malyi goes from hero to zero in a moment of madness

Malyi made an excellent block to deny Martial but then headed into his own net!
Malyi made an excellent block to deny Martial but then headed into his own net!

Kazakhstan centre-back Serhiy Malyi stole the show with two huge moments in the game, one good and one absolutely bad.

The 30-year old first produced a superb last-ditch block to keep Anthony Martial from doubling France's lead from barely a yard out from goal.

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However, he then inadvertently headed the ball into his own net from the ensuing corner just half a minute later.

For one second, Malyi appeared to have given Kazakhstan a lifeline with his crucial intervention, but just moments later, he undid his own hard work with a stupid own goal.

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Published 28 Mar 2021, 22:17 IST
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