Olivier Giroud scored his 54th goal with the Blues. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
Health walk for the Blues in Faro, Portugal, against Gibraltar (3-0), during the 3rd day of the Euro 2024 qualifiers.
The French team traveled this Friday evening to Faro, Portugal to face on the lawn of the Estádio do Algarve, during the 3rd day of group B of the Euro 2024 qualifiers, organized in Germany. While the Blues had launched their campaign perfectly last March with two precious victories against the Netherlands (4-0) and Ireland (1-0), the players of Didier Deschamps had to continue against the modest team of Gibraltar, ranked 201st in FIFA, in order to consolidate their first place in the group before officially going on vacation.
For the record, it was the first time in history that France and Gibraltar crossed swords in an official meeting. Moreover, the Blues have never met a team so badly positioned in the FIFA rankings. A part which should therefore allow the French to solidify the automatisms by giving a chance to the new Brice Samba and Wesley Fofana, holders for their first selection with the Blues.
The Blues start strong
In the first period, the French team showed seriousness by attacking their evening opponents from the start. After a superb collective work on the right side, Kingsley Coman placed a superb cross on the head of Olivier Giroud who therefore scored his 54th career goal in the jersey of the Blues (3rd, 1-0). Several times in the first half, Deschamps’ players tried to push to make the break but goalkeeper Dayle Coleing made some inspired parries on a strike from Coman (15th), then a curl from Eduardo Camavinga (29′) or again on a shot from Antoine Griezmann (36th). Also note the crossbar found with the head by Aurélien Tchouaméni on yet another corner kicked by Griezmann (30 ‘). And on a penalty caused and transformed by Kylian Mbappé (45th + 3, 2-0), France took shelter before going to breathe in the locker room. The domination was then clear and precise with a possession of 82% and nearly 18 strikes attempted.
In the second act, the Blues were slow before accelerating again. Despite a post from Antoine Griezmann on a cross from Théo Hernandez (51st), France had far fewer clear chances and were less aggressive and enterprising in the second half, apart from a few breakthroughs, a few attempts at combinations. Possession of the ball was still blue but Deschamps’ players continued to take the time to tire their opponents to find the breach without panicking, without a spark. And on a lightning counter-attack, Ousmane Dembélé (entered the game in the 66th) served on the side a Mbappé launched at full speed. The captain of the Blues attempted a powerful low cross and Gibraltar defender Aymen Mouelhi could only tackle and counter the ball in his own net (78th, 3-0). For the third time in the game, the Blues touched up a post on a new cross where Tchouaméni jumped higher than everyone else to place his powerful header on the bar (89th). The Tricolores ended the meeting with more than 30 attempted strikes but above all the essentials locked.
With this result, France still remains undefeated and above all at the top of Group B of the Euro 2024 qualifiers with three wins in three games. Next meeting Monday evening, at the Stade de France to face Greece. Gustavo Poyet’s troops also beat Ireland (2-1) this Friday evening on the lawn of the Agia Sophia Stadium.