France finally put an end to their winless streak. Goals from Antoine Griezmann in either half were enough to see off the Nordic country. France hadn’t won a match since they beat Germany 1-0 at Euro 2020. Their winless streak stretched to five games when Les Bleus were held to a 1-1 draw away to Ukraine a few days ago.
After five consecutive draws, something had to give for Les Bleus. They started with intent but had only a flurry of corners to show for it. Finland slowly grew into the game. Urho Nissila’s shot deflected awkwardly for Hugo Lloris before Leo Vaisanen sent his header over the bar. Griezmann played a key role in Les Bleus taking over the game. His link-up play was exceptional and he broke the deadlock in the 25th minute. He collected Karim Benzema’s pass in the box and slotted it past Lukas Hradecky with the outside of his boot.
France showed no signs of slowing down after the goal. They kept pressing and probing for a second. It didn’t come before halftime as Karim Benzema saw his shot blocked after dancing through the Finnish defense. Minutes later, Paul Pogba slipped as he hit a volley and sent wide.
Griezmann is France’s top scorer in the World Cup qualifiers. The Atletico Madrid returnee once again showed his eye for goal as he netted his second of the game. He squeezed the ball past Hradecky from a seemingly impossible angle in the 54th minute. He would then get a chance for a hat trick, but the 30-year-old sent his volley wide after some scintillating build-up play.
Finland barely put up a fight. They had only 3 shots in 90 minutes and couldn’t muster a single one on target. At 2-0 up, the French team were in their comfort zone. They should have won by a wider margin but they couldn’t convert their chances. Even though they couldn’t add to their tally, they controlled proceedings amassing 64% of the possession. They would go on to secure a routine win. Karim Benzema wanted a goal on his Lyon homecoming but was denied by Bayer Leverkusen stopper Hradecky late in the game. He would settle for the assist.
Didier Deschamps can breathe a sigh of relief as his team finally gets a win. France still tops group D on twelve points from six games after skipping past Finland. They are 7 points away from second-placed Ukraine who have a game in hand. Les Bleus play Kazakhstan next in what should prove to be an easier tie. By the way, Griezmann is now France’s third all-time scorer.