The Blues had a plethora of scoring chances (nineteen shots in total), but it took them a shot on goal to claim a narrow victory (1-0) against Greece on Monday at the Stade de France, in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis). And again, the penalty in question – whistled for a dangerous intervention by a defender, the studs on the head of Antoine Griezmann – was initially pushed back by goalkeeper Odysséas Vlachodimos.
Sparse in whistling in the Greek surface during four contentious situations in the first period, the referee, the Spaniard Antonio Mateu Lahoz, who directed the last match of his career, therefore gave the 55e minute a second chance for Kylian Mbappé to convert the sentence. In question: a Greek player entered the area too early during the first attempt. And this time, the captain of the Blues opened his foot to deceive the Greek goalkeeper who had again dived on the right side.
The last bulwark of this team is one of the only ones to evolve in a big European club (in this case in Benfica, in Portugal) with the left side, Kóstas Tsimíkas (who plays intermittently in Liverpool, in England). In the field, ” the difference [de niveau] between the France team and us was incredible”recognized the coach of the Greek selection, Gustavo Poyet, former coach of the Girondins de Bordeaux.
Thanks to this victory, the fourth in as many games in 2023, the players of Didier Deschamps, they consolidate their place as leader (12 points against 6 points and one game less for Greece, second) of group B of the qualifications of Euro 2024 which will take place in Germany (from June 14 to July 14, 2024). In short, the qualification is not yet acquired, but the Blues have already set foot on the other side of the Rhine.
If Antoine Griezmann ended the meeting with a headband around his head, recalling the stigma that caused the decisive penalty, Didier Deschamps’ players avoided injuries before going on vacation. Facing a team that lacked a lot of things but not aggressiveness, this is the other tricolor satisfaction, at the end of a particularly trying 2022-2023 season.
“Sixty matches per season is a lot”
Championship, national cups, European club cups, League of Nations, Euro qualifiers in selection… In addition to the usual deadlines, a World Cup scheduled for the end of autumn 2022 has been added (FIFA had postponed the competition to this period after the awarding of the competition to Qatar in 2010, violating its own specifications for applications).
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