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Successful first match of the season for the Blues, who beat the Swedes 1-0 at Solna. Kylian Mbappé (41st) scored the one and only goal of the match, his 14th in the France team.
A winning return for the Blues who won 1-0 against Sweden on Saturday, September 5, behind closed doors in Solna. Almost ten months after the last outing of the France team in Albania (2-0), Kylian Mbappé (41st) offered victory to his team by scoring the one and only goal of the match.
In this League of Nations match, the Blues have obtained few scoring opportunities. With Adrien Rabiot, back in the selection after more than two years of absence, and despite a penalty missed by Antoine Griezmann in added time, the world champions provided the essentials to place themselves at the top of their group tied for points with Portugal, who beat Croatia on Saturday, opponents of the Blues on Tuesday in Saint-Denis.
In the stadium in the northern suburbs of Stockholm, empty of spectators in these times of health crisis, Didier Deschamps’ team has maintained its dynamic of victories in a lucky way, with an identical system of play but a different cast and context.
An environment made “heavy”
It is indeed in an environment made “heavy”, “restrictive” and “anxiety-provoking” by the Covid-19 pandemic, in the words of the coach, that the Blues returned to school, disturbed by Paul’s package Pogba, Houssem Aouar and Steve Mandanda, all tested positive for Covid-19 before or during the rally.
The absences and disparate states of form of the internationals have forced the boss of the world champions to innovate even more than usual.
This news did the business of Adrien Rabiot, summoned to everyone’s surprise after a long crossing of the desert, and started against the Swedish “Blågult”.
The performance of the talented, and sometimes capricious, 25-year-old midfielder was necessarily scrutinized in the light of his busy past: six “mixed” selections (dixit Deschamps), including one in Bulgaria where he had confessed to having been “afraid of getting hurt “because of the cold, and a reservist status at the 2018 World Cup resoundingly refused.
Same system as in Tirana
For this first match of the season, almost ten months after the last one played in November 2019 in Albania (2-0), Deschamps had renewed the same system as in Tirana: a back base with three central defenders, including the little new Dayot Upamecano (21), a line of four in the middle and Antoine Griezmann as conductor of the attack formed by Olivier Giroud and Mbappé.
Hit in the second period in the right ankle, the one that has made him suffer in recent weeks, the Parisian was restless before his replacement (77th) by Anthony Martial. The Manchester United striker, not seen in the selection since March 2018, caused a penalty but Antoine Griezmann missed it (90th + 5).
The young prodigy Eduardo Camavinga, only 17, remained on the bench, unlike his Stade Rennes teammate Steven Nzonzi, who entered at the very end of the match. He will have to wait until Tuesday, and the reception in Saint-Denis of the Croatian vice-world champions, beaten on Saturday in Portugal (4-1), to hope to honor his first selection.