Didier Deschamps was waiting for his French team to wake up in Kiev on Saturday, September 4, he only had a sluggish shudder. Led at the end of the first period, the Blues responded from the start of the second act with a goal from Anthony Martial, his second under the blue tunic after 29 selections. Sharper after the equalizer, the French players failed to win despite some opportunities, in an Olympic stadium in Kiev where they never won.
The reigning world champions are now on a series of five games without a win, a first since September 2013. With this draw (1-1), the Blues however retain the lead of Group D ahead of Finland, second at four points . A dolphin in the standings that they will face on Tuesday at Parc OL de Décines in the third qualifying match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar (from November 21 to December 18) of this international break.
5 – France has a fifth consecutive draw for the very first time in its history. Breakdown. https://t.co/hjNChCp6lE
Shaparenko shower the Blues
In a soporific first period, the Blues showed the same face as in the draw (1-1) against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday at the Meinau in Strasbourg: without ideas, without clear offensive circuits and with a hesitant defense despite the changes (Kurt Zouma in place of Raphaël Varane, Léo Dubois holder on the right after the suspension of Jules Koundé).
The first occasion of the meeting arrives at the 35e minute for the Zbirna. On a corner played for two, Yarmolenko stumbled over an attentive Hugo Lloris. Zabarnyi could have opened the scoring from close range but his shot went over the empty frame. At the 44e minute, the Blues finally show themselves. Served in depth by Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial – established in place of Karim Benzema at the forefront of the attack of the reigning world champions – tries to slip the ball under the Ukrainian goalkeeper but totally misses his duel.
And the sanction is not long. On the next block, Roman Yaremchuk easily overwhelms Presnel Kimpembe and crosses into the box. Kurt Zouma hesitantly pushes back in the axis, in the feet of Mykola Shaparenko. At twenty meters, the young midfielder shoots a nice shot from the right that ends in the top corner of Hugo Lloris, helpless. As in the last five games, the France team concedes the opener, its longest series of this kind since November 2009-June 2010 under Raymond Domenech. A first disastrous act to forget for the Blues of Didier Deschamps.
Anthony Martial unblocks the Blues, five years later
From the start of the second half, the French seem more offensive. On a cross from Kingsley Coman, Adrien Rabiot puts his head in the feet of Anthony Martial. The French striker does not miss the target, at close range this time despite an intervention by the Ukrainian goalkeeper and puts the France team back on track (50e minute).
In search of the second goal and victory, Deschamps then brought in Karim Benzema and Moussa Diaby, who honored his second selection after his very short entry into play in the previous match. The young Bayer Leverkusen could have scored for the first time in blue but he found the post after knocking out two defenders in the box.
Despite the very good performance of Aurélien Tchouaméni, left on injury a few moments before the end of the meeting, and the activity of Paul Pogba, the Blues do not find the fault. And must be content with a point in this hostile land of Kiev.
After the meeting, Hugo Lloris, captain of the Blues returned to the bad period experienced by his team: “It’s over the euphoria of the post-World Cup, when we felt that everyone could tip the result in our favor. We were successful, it’s a bit broken. The objective on Tuesday is to win with style, if possible without taking a goal. “
Tuesday, the France team could, in case of victory against Finland, take a very big option on the first place of the group. And find the path of serenity.