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Sweden 0-1 France: Five talking points as Kylian Mbappe's goal secures unconvincing win for Les Bleus | UEFA Nations League 2020/21

France huffed and puffed, but won all three points against Sweden
France huffed and puffed, but won all three points against Sweden
Sachin Bhat
ANALYST
Modified 06 Sep 2020, 09:20 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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France toiled to a hard-fought 1-0 win against Sweden in Stockholm to start the new season of the UEFA Nations League by securing all three points.

Kylian Mbappe was the difference-maker on the night after the Paris Saint-Germain ace scored a wonderful solo effort in the 41st minute to seal his 14th international goal.

The match was low on goalmouth action as chances were at a premium, and the teams struggled to assert themselves offensively. There were only three shots on target from both sides combined, a reflection of the game's listless and languid nature.

Antoine Griezmann rounded off the sordid affair with an appalling penalty kick right at the death.

Without further ado, here are the major talking points from the Sweden-France match:

#1 Mbappe magic makes the difference

France
France's golden boy was at it again!

Kylian Mbappe has to be the best young player in the world right now. While he continues to pull up trees in his club career, the PSG starlet's importance to the France national team cannot be underestimated.

In what was his first appearance for Les Blues in more than a year (he missed five games last year due to injuries), Mbappe marked his return with a quality strike which eventually proved to be enough for the visitors.

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After storming into the area on the right flank, he brilliantly whizzed past two of his markers before rifling home beyond Olsen from an acute angle.

There was, however, a bit of good fortune in the build-up as the ball appeared to bounce off the legs of both Mikael Lustig and Robin Quaison before his attempt.

Yet, the 21-year old's trickery, balance and eagerness cannot be denied. His overall performance may have left a lot to be desired but he made no mistake when an opportunity showed up. That's what separates him from the ordinary.

#2 Sweden amp up the pressure in the dying embers, but to no avail

Sweden woke up from their slumber too late as France sealed the win
Sweden woke up from their slumber too late as France sealed the win

Sweden tried their damnedest but struggled to hit the broadside of a banjo as they failed to conjure good chances. France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris wasn't tested enough, though he did make a vital intervention in the first half by rushing off his line to deny Berg from close range.

If that wasn't bad enough, the hosts went completely off the boil after the break. There was no real urgency in their play as they seemed to wait for an opportunity to show up rather than attempting to force one. In the final few minutes, however, they woke up from their slumber.

Suddenly, it was Sweden who were dominating the ball and showing real intent. Even though clear-cut opportunities were still hard to come, Emil Forsberg lashed a venomous shot that was brilliantly saved by Lloris, just minutes after seeing John Guidetti's effort sail narrowly wide.

Each missed the target deep into the stoppage time despite coming close as the Swedes attempted to find a smash-and-grab equaliser. It was, however, too little too late as France successfully weathered the storm to preserve the lead and eventually claim all the points.

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Published 06 Sep 2020, 09:20 IST
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