Goalscorer Benjamin Pavard gives Mike Maignan man of the match shout after France’s win in Ireland

Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard (26) has scored France’s only goal of the night against Ireland. Les Bleus sealed a hard-fought 1-0 win against the Boys in Green to go top of their Euro 2024 qualifiers’ group B following their 4-0 hammering of The Netherlands on Friday. Pavard broke the deadlock in Dublin when he retrieved a loose pass from Josh Cullen before lashing a 50th-minute right-footed screamer that went in off the crossbar. “I showed good anticipation and I struck the ball well. All the better for me and for the team“, reacted Pavard to La Chaîne L’Equipe.

Pavard’s game-winning goal could not come at a better moment for the 2018 World Cup winner. The former Lille youth product was a surprise name in the starting line-up at right-back with Jules Koundé given the nod against The Netherlands. The Barcelona man, and even Monaco centre-back Axel Disasi, leapfrogged Pavard in the pecking order during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after the latter’s erratic display against Australia in the group stage. “The World Cup did not go as I would have liked but I was there for the team, for the collective. Tonight, I had the opportunity to play, it worked for me and I even scored, although the first objective of a defender is to defend well.

If Pavard scored the decisive goal of the night, France goalkeeper Mike Maignan has excelled in making sure Les Bleus got the win with a string of stunning saves in the dying minutes. “Mike’s save allows us to stay in the game and to get a clean sheet, so he is the man of the match for me.”

GFFN | Bastien Cheval

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