France faced the Republic of Ireland aiming to hold on to top spot in Group B of the 2024 European Championship qualifiers last night.
Didier Deschamps’ side had an unblemished record after four games and were looking to make it five from five against an Ireland side sitting fourth in the table.
France established their dominance early in the game as Lucas Hernandez found his younger brother, Theo, down the left flank with a searching ball.
The AC Milan man’s cutback for Olivier Giroud was good, but Shane Duffy produced an excellent block to repel the effort.
France captain Kylian Mbappe saw a half-chance from the resulting corner, but it came too quick for him, and he fired over.
Les Bleus continued to pass and probe, but Ireland’s backline held on until the 18th minute.
Ireland’s backline didn’t falter, but Aurelien Tchouameni got a good view of Gavin Bazunu’s goal and curled a peach of an effort beyond the Southampton goalkeeper for the opener.
France continued to probe Ireland’s defence, but could not break through. Giroud went off on 25 minutes after taking multiple knocks, and Marcus Thuram replaced him.
Mbappe had the ball in the back of the net in the 39th minute, but there was a VAR call for offside in the lead-up to the goal and the goal was chalked off.
France goalie Mike Maignan had been a spectator for most of the game but showed incredible reflexes to keep out Chidozie Ogbene’s close-range header.
France’s control of the game continued into the second half as they continued to exert pressure.
Immediately after the break, they doubled their lead as a well-worked move led to Mbappe shooting.
The Ireland defence made last-ditch efforts to block the hit, but it fell to Thuram, who smashed in his first goal for his country.
Ireland made several changes, but apart from that Ogbene effort they didn’t create much.
France took all three points to continue their perfect record in the group as they look to seal their spot at Euro 2024 in Germany.
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