A first-choice France team comfortably saw off Ireland at the Parc des Princes on Thursday night, in a match that saw few fireworks – presumably, those will instead be on show at the Stade de France on Friday, for the Rugby World Cup opener between Les Bleus and the All Blacks. In the meantime, the football team have kept up their 100% record in Euro 2024 qualifying with a fifth win on the bounce.
The hosts would decidedly dominate the opening exchanges, and were ahead just before the 20-minute mark as Aurélien Tchouaméni fired in a low, curling shot from range, after being set up on the edge of the box by Kylian Mbappé. Les Bleus’ attacking ambitions would take a hit, though, as Olivier Giroud was forced off with an ankle injury soon after – Marcus Thuram came on to replace him.
France would waste no time in doubling their lead after the break, Griezmann once again the initial orchestrator. After Kylian Mbappé saw his close-range shot blocked, Marcus Thuram was on hand to turn and find the roof of the net in emphatic fashion. Ireland would come close to halving the deficit soon after through an Ogbene header – which Mike Maignan would keep out with a fingertip save.
Ireland’s low block was largely successful in keeping France at bay for the rest of the first half, though – although Stephen Kenny’s men rarely threatened themselves. Kylian Mbappé was mostly neutralised, while both Dembélé and Coman were unable to make the most of their incisive breakthroughs. In any case, a spot at Euro 2024 is now looking like a formality – the rest is best kicked into touch for the time being.
France player ratings
Mike Maignan, 6
Jules Koundé, 5
Dayot Upamecano, 6
Lucas Hernandez, 7
Théo Hernandez, 7 – A constant threat down the left wing and won the majority of his duels. The moves that came of his near-telepathic understanding with Mbappé were mostly fruitless against a low-sitting Ireland defence.
Antoine Griezmann, 8 – Once again played his midfield orchestrator role to perfection, and was dangerous just about every time he was on the ball. Whether it’s playing through Hernandez down the left or combining in intricate passing moves with his midfield partners, the Atlético Madrid man was the driving force for Les Bleus tonight.
Aurélien Tchouaméni, 7 – Scored his third goal for France with a long-range opener, and turned in a complete performance in midfield. Consistently won his duels, near-impeccable passing, and consistently at the centre of France’s build-up play.
Adrien Rabiot, 6
Ousmane Dembélé, 6 – Much like his first few games for Paris Saint-Germain this season – constantly beating his defender in style, but unable to get enough accuracy on the final ball. Hit the post in his final move of the game, before being replaced by Kingsley Coman.
Olivier Giroud, N/A – The striker was characteristically effective when it came to hold-up play, but came off before the half-hour mark due to an ankle injury. Replaced by Marcus Thuram (6) whose well-taken close-range finish early in the second half doubled the lead. Similar chances in the box would be difficult to come by for the rest of the game, although he did miss the chance to grab his double with a header that ultimately went over.
Kylian Mbappé, 5 – The captain struggeld to find the target and his teammates, and was often isolated in a confused number ten/wing position. Some good combinations with Hernandez and some incisive runs down the left – as well as an assist for Tchouaméni for the first goal.