France have defeated Ireland by the finest of margins on Monday night with right-back Benjamin Pavard scoring the only goal of the night at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. After their 4-0 hammering of The Netherlands on Friday, Les Bleus had it harder against the Boys in Green with several France players, such as Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann or Théo Hernandez under-performing. Still, France held on to a precious win to pull clear in their Euro 2024 qualifiers’ Group B. “It’s a very good international break for us, given the opponents we had faced, even if tonight’s game was less good than the one on Friday. Results-wise, six points are ideal. Congratulations to the squad, there is still a long road ahead“, assessed Deschamps to TF1.
Deschamps was also full of praise for France goalkeeper Mike Maignan. The Milan goalie produced a stunning save at the 90th-minute to deny Nathan Collins’ header to go in his right top corner. “Thanks to him, we kept all three points. That’s Mike. It’s not easy to take over from Hugo [Lloris] who did extraordinary things with us. Mike is with us for a long time now. With his first game [as a number one] on Friday and this one tonight, he exudes a lot of strength, like the players in front of him too.“
Deschamps also had a word on Pavard, who broke the deadlock with a powerful strike at the 50th-minute. The Bayern man was one of the few France’s players who took a shot from long distance, to devastating effect. It’s a great redemption night for Pavard, who had a hard time during the World Cup after his erratic display against Australia in Qatar. “I told him I was happy for him. He had a less happy spell, but he’s here, even if he is not playing in his favourite position. He’s our match-winner. It’s good, it showed that anyone can have a harder period but it does not mean I won’t keep my trust towards them. It’s up to them to perform in their club and to maintain a high level.“
GFFN | Bastien Cheval