A renewed and rejuvenated France team saw out their first international break of the year with two wins – the first against The Netherlands admittedly with more aplomb than last night’s trip to Dublin.
As pointed out by Statsdufoot, Les Bleus have even managed their best start to a qualifying campaign in nearly 40 years, given they had not won their first two matches since 1984, on their way to sealing their place at the World Cup for 1986.
Although the win over Ireland was not the same goalscoring bonanza that the Stade de France had seen last Friday – newly-named skipped Kylian Mbappé in particular struggling – a second clean sheet in a row is a good omen for France’s revamped defence. Hugo Lloris’ successor as number one, Mike Maignan, particularly impressed with a late save, and has now only conceded once from open play in 540 minutes with Les Bleus. Similarly, Ibrahima Konaté has only let in one goal during his last 463 minutes in a France jersey.
The next two tests in June – a trip to Gibraltar and a home game against Greece – are unlikely to give a clearer idea of the way the national team’s new generation will shape up, but one thing this week has shown is that the post-World Cup blues have been definitively shaken off.
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin