the Blues win in Ireland thanks to Pavard and Maignan

This kind of success snatched with teeth, guts and a little talent, too, serves to weld this new generation for this new era, taken over by two clean sheets and six points in two games on the road to Euro 2024.

Lack of speed

The fireworks of the first 20 minutes against the Netherlands (4-0) seems to be a distant memory in front of this first period as long as a day without pain. After five minutes of observation, the Blues took control of the ball against an Irish block as low as they were grouped together. They tried to stretch the opposing defense and crossed a lot (17 times at half-time) but never found Giroud’s header.

They especially lacked speed, despite the accelerations of Kolo Muani on the right and the good will of Camavinga, preferred to Tchouaméni in the low point of the middle. Too many touches of the ball, and too few ideas, movements and accuracy, these are the French faults of the first 45 minutes, during Rabiot lost 12 balls. Mbappé, he never knew how to pick up speed, for lack of available space.

Result: no chance before the break. The only situation will have been for Kolo Muani, who did not know how to take a nice opening from Upamecano (9th). Irish goalkeeper Bazunu had no saves to make. Maignan either, moreover, even if Hernandez was in great pain on his left side, as much to attack as to defeat Ogbene.

Deschamps’ hug

The alarm clock was sounded by his counterpart on the right side, Benjamin Pavard, who had lost his place following the first match of the World Cup against Australia. After a ball lost by Rabiot, he recovered it by pressing very high and seeing a violent strike under the crossbar (50th). And Deschamps gave him a long hug when he was replaced by Koundé, in a competition that may be relaunched.

Giroud, also holder, left shortly after the hour mark without having had the slightest good ball to eat. This may stir up some debate about him, especially since the first French opportunity after the goal came from his replacement, Moussa Diaby (69th). The Bayer Leverkusen player should also have done better on a contra (77th), in the last quarter of an hour when the Irish opened up a little more space, which allowed Rabiot to try his luck too (75th ).

The men in green then began to push for good and it took a magnificent save from Maignan on a header from… Koundé (89th) then a last one, exceptional this one, to prevent Collins from finding the skylight of the head. After the penalty saved against the Netherlands, he could not have hoped for a better start to his reign.