France wins against the Republic of Ireland


Due to France’s Benjamin Pavard’s outstanding second-half goal, the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2024 qualification campaign got off to a losing start in Dublin.

Five minutes after the break, Pavard intercepted a pass from Josh Cullen and scored past Gavin Bazunu, giving the Republic the lead after holding the French in a first half of little opportunities.

The Republic applied intense pressure to the defeated World Cup finalists late on, but they were unable to overcome Mike Maignan’s breathtaking save, which stopped Nathan Collins from tying the score.

On June 16, the Republic will visit Greece for their subsequent qualifying match.

However, France is already well on their way to qualifying for next year’s finals in Germany after following up their rout of the Netherlands with a narrow win in front of a boisterous Dublin crowd. In contrast, the Irish must wait almost three months to try and score points.

At the Aviva Stadium, Pavard’s spectacular right-footed shot awarded the French the victory after Les Bleus humiliated the Netherlands on Friday by scoring three goals in the first 22 minutes of play.

Many would have predicted that the French would then cruise to three points, but the Irish made a strong effort to score what would have been a significant point because Didier Deschamps’ team was unable to add a second.

And if it weren’t for Maignan, who made a string of outstanding saves to outperform his more accomplished teammates and frustrate the Irish, they would have gained a draw.

Mbappe overshadowed by Maignan and Pavard

Eyes were inevitably drawn to Kylian Mbappe in Dublin after his two goals against the Dutch in his debut as France captain caught everyone’s attention.

The Bayern Munich right-back Pavard, who intercepted Cullen’s attempted pass to Jason Knight and hammered a rasping effort in off the underside of Bazunu’s crossbar, upstaged the Paris St. Germain superstar despite his glimpses of brilliance.

After a first half in which France struggled to get past a resolute home defense, Pavard’s goal put them ahead. However, the visitors were further troubled by a tenacious Irish team in the dying minutes, and they had AC Milan goalkeeper Maignan to thank for the victory.

The 27-year-old showed quick reactions to deny Jules Kounde from heading into his own net and deflected a James McClean shot around the post for a corner.

The Republic defender’s agony was visible on his face as he dropped to the ground at the sound of the final whistle, but Maignan kept his best for last, reaching out and getting a solid right hand to Collins’ header that was heading for the top corner.

The Republic manager Stephen Kenny will be sad to go empty-handed given how hard his squad worked for a goal during a thrilling game-ending sequence, but he will take heart from seeing his players frighten the third-ranked team in the world.

After the Republic’s journey to Greece, the Irish will focus on the two-match window in June in an effort to make their first tournament since Euro 2016 by hosting Gibraltar in Dublin.

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