without shining, the French team wins against Ireland and takes a step closer to the Euro

Marcus Thuram celebrated for his first goal in Blue. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

For its return to school, the French team won, not without difficulty, two goals to zero against Ireland. A victory which allows Didier Deschamps’ players to move closer to Euro 2024.

At the Parc des Princes

Any other result than a victory would have made a stain, even more on the eve of the battle of titans awaited by an entire country that the XV of France and the All Blacks will fight at the opening of the Rugby World Cup, but the Bleus du football had the merit of not missing their return to school on Thursday evening. And to live up to expectations despite a show that was not always successful in the furnace of the Parc des Princes. It must be said that Ireland when it comes to playing with their feet, is the complete opposite of the ogre that the XV of Clover can represent on a field. The band of Kylian Mbappé understood this well by easily validating a fifth victory (2-0) in as many games in the qualifying campaign for Euro 2024. With nine points ahead of the 2e (Netherlands, 2 matches less) and the third (Greece, 1 disburt match) in their group, we do not see how the precious sesame for the European championship in Germany next summer could escape the vices -world champions.

Under the eyes of certain 1984 European champions (Tigana, Rocheteau, Giresse, Fernandez, Amoros…) present in the spans of the Park, but without Michel Platini who declined the invitation of the FFF, the French team remained in continuation of its latest releases. Solid, patient and aware that with her qualities and her colossal offensive potential she would succeed in undermining the 53e Fifa nation (between Ivory Coast and Saudi Arabia), came to Paris not to take a dance. The Parisian public who came in large numbers, despite the heat and the major event expected at the Stade de France on Friday evening, nevertheless got their money’s worth. Already with the sumptuous opening score of Aurélien Tchouaméni (1-0, 19e), with a luminous strike curled outside the penalty area after a shift from captain Mbappé. And then during a much more pleasant second period to follow after a first act, let’s face it, where the Blues will have purred more than anything else with a rhythm that is far too weak, transmissions that are too slow and an unsuitable attacking presence against the low block of the Irish. Even Deschamps in his half-time speech admitted that his troops were playing too sluggishly.

So the Blues, well helped by the fatigue of the men in green, who played in white on Thursday evening, accelerated to finally secure the destiny of a match that was reaching out to them. Entered at 26e minute after Olivier Giroud’s ankle injury, Marcus Thuram took advantage of some nice collective work, initiated by Antoine Griezmann (79e consecutive match with the selection, record in progress), well relayed by Kylian Mbappé, to score his first goal in blue (2-0, 52e). What followed was more enjoyable with the captain’s speed (54e, 89e), the firm hand of Maignan (52e), the striking power of Tchouaméni (69e), or Dembélé’s hooks (71e). For in the end a controlled victory, without forcing and above all without surprises. Not the sexiest either for the 900e match in the history of the selection. But the French team, for quite a while, has been moving forward like a train arriving on time. That’s all we wish for our rugby counterparts on Friday night against New Zealand.

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