Giroud answers after over 800 minutes – and overtakes Zidane
The French national team have bagged their first victory in the UEFA Nations League and taken the lead in Group 1. On Sunday evening, the reigning world champions beat the Netherlands 2-1 – because it was Giroud who ended a long dry spell.
After the mixed appearance in Munich, where goalkeeper Areola (kicker grade 1, player of the match) had saved the French from defeat, coach Didier Deschamps stayed on his course. Because: Exactly the same team as against Germany also started in Paris.
In the eleventh round, coach Ronald Koeman rebuilt his team to three positions compared to their latest 2-1 win against Peru: De Jong, Pröpper and Promes started for Strootman, Vormer and the Sneijder, which was officially dismissed on Thursday evening.
Promes helps out
In the atmospheric Stade de France, it only took 49 seconds until the first highlight: Mbappé was caught up in a counterattack by de Jong, but Cillessen failed from a sharp angle. On the other hand, Promes did not miss too much in a long-range shot (3.). But in the following the reigning world champion played almost exclusively, who forced the guests to play his game. In the 14th minute it happened because Promes was a strong helper: A catastrophic header in his own penalty area landed with Matuidi, who cleverly crossed and Mbappé pushed in ice-cold – 1-0.
Then the favourite took it easier and varied between his own powerful attacking game and moments when the Netherlands were allowed to come. But that didn’t make the eleventh goal any dangerous before the break. Because France were also stingy with offensive highlights, it remained 1-0 after the first 45 minutes.
Wijnaldum still fails
France continued to be the more active side after the change of sides, but without becoming a real force to be reckoned with. And suddenly, Oranje took heart: in the 66th minute, Liverpool’s Wijnaldum left the huge chance on the equaliser. Only a turn of the hand later, Babel actually equalised the score, because Pavard could not follow him on a cross from the right and Areola could not prevent the impact.
So for the remaining 20 minutes high voltage was announced. But one player didn’t feel like it for long: Giroud, who had not scored for the French national team for more than 800 minutes before, put a volley after Joker Mendy’s cross into the long corner – 2:1 (75th). With his goal, Giroud (32 goals) passed Zinedine Zidane (31) in the list of French record scorers and now has David Trezeguet (34), Michel Platini (41) and Thierry Henry (51) in fourth place.
Germany doubled in October
Stuttgart’s Pavard was lucky in the 80th minute that he didn’t leave the pitch. Away from the ball, he kicked Babel in the back of his calf – and all he saw was yellow. In Crunchtime, Oranje pressed again briefly, but remained unlucky with his advances. The first victory for the reigning UEFA Nations League World Champion had been secured after an intense 90 minutes. On the third matchday, the Netherlands will face Germany in Amsterdam on 13 October, before the French receive the 2014 World Cup winners at home on 16 October.