Defending champions France beat Finland 2-0 in a football match of World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, thanks to Antoine Griezmann’s double-strike to win a five-game winning streak. France was shaken by 57,000 passionate spectators in Lyon, where Griezmann – who ended an unfortunate time at Barcelona on loan, moved back to Atletico Madrid in the transfer window – combined well with Karim Benzema, while his team made a smooth start.
Benzema’s delightful back freed Griezmann inside the box and delivered a smooth finish after 25 minutes. Griezmann scored 41 goals for his country as he beat Finnish goalkeeper Lukáš Hrádecký in a near goal to take a 2–0 lead in the 54th minute. With this, the 30-year-old equaled Michel Platini’s record of 41 goals for his country – 10 behind all-time leader Thierry Henry and five behind Olivier Giroud.
After a disappointing 1-1 draw with Ukraine in their last game, the win was a welcome boost for the Frenchman, who is still recovering after falling from Euro 2020 in this summer’s last 16. Atletico Madrid’s new loanee had a chance to complete his hat-trick, with Benzema again providing the assist, but he could only poke over before acrobatically volleying wide with his next attempt.
French coach Didier Deschamps said, “We didn’t do everything well, but we rediscovered our confidence. It puts our fate in our hands and we have to finish the work in November.” Watch football highlights of World Cup qualifiers in which France beat Finland ending a five-game winless skid.
France 2 – 0 Finland
Goals: 1 – 0 Griezmann 25, 2 – 0 Griezmann 54
Bookings: Schuller, Pukki, Arajuuri
France: Lloris, Kimpembe, Varane, Zouma, Hernandez, Rabiot, Pogba, Dubois, Griezmann, Benzema, Martial
Substitutions: Mukiele, Tchouameni, Lenglet, Ben Yedder
Finland: Hradecky, Vaisanen, Arajuuri, O’Shaughnessy, Alho, Nissila, Schuller, Kamara, Uronen, Pohjanpalo, Pukki
Substitutions: Raitala, Kairinen, Jensen, Valakari, Soiri
GROUP D Results:
Bosnia and Herzegovina 2 – 2 Kazahstan
France 2 – 0 Finland