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France gets upper hand over Sweden as Giroud bags brace

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France capped their unbeaten UEFA Nations League group campaign with a 4-2 Stade de France win over Sweden, who drop down to League B.

 

Bidding to avoid relegation, Sweden started with a bang, with Viktor Claesson capitalising on a slip from Paul Pogba, driving into the box and shooting, with the ball taking a nick off Raphael Varane and squaring into the top of the net.

 

France responded well. Robin Olsen had already made a good save to deny Giroud before the Chelsea forward drove home at the near post after meeting Marcus Thuram’s pass from the left-hand side, thus giving France the much needed equalizer.

 

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has shown a different side to his game as he’s started and finished the move that has handed France an equaliser against Sweden.

 

Les Bleus’ fell behind early on due to some soft defending from Adrien Rabiot and Paul Pogba, but Giroud has ensured that France were behind for not much longer than 10 minutes.

 

In the 15th minute of the tie, France recovered the ball and Giroud sparked a counter-attacking opportunity with a pass in to Antoine Griezmann.

 

The Barcelona attacker drove all the way into the final third from behind the halfway line, before laying the ball off to Marcus Thuram.

 

Thuram showed some lovely dribbling before he picked out Giroud in the box, with the target-man firing the ball into the back of the net with a superb first-time finish.

 

Thuram was also involved in the second. Coming in from his flank, he danced his way past a couple of defenders and struck it. It cannoned off a defender and fell kindly to Benjamin Pavard, whose first-time volley skimmed off the surface of the turf and nestled in the bottom corner.

 

France’s defender Benjamin Pavard (R) celebrates after scoring a goal with France’s midfielder Moussa Sissoko during the UEFA Nations League A group 3 football match between France and Sweden at the Stade de France.

 

France were beginning to dominate but could well have been pegged back on the cusp of half-time, when Dejan Kulusevski was fouled by Varane in the area. It was a clear penalty, but there was no VAR to right the referee’s incorrect decision.

 

Giroud missed a fine chance to grab his second after heading wide from an excellent Sissoko cross but soon made amends by flinging himself onto a perfect ball from Kylian Mbappe and finding the back of the net at the 58th minute by a header.

 

Robin Quaison pulled one back from close range after a fine team move to give the Swedes hope. As they desperately sought an equaliser which would keep them in League A, goalkeeper Olsen went up for a free kick and France took full advantage, clearing the ball to Kingsley Coman, who passed into an empty net to end the encounter once and for all with their fourth and last of the game.

 

France complete their group campaign with 16 points and can look forward to the Nations League Finals in October 2021.

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Barcelona ease past Dynamo kiev

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Barcelona did not have much problem to do when they dispatched Dynamo Kiev by 2-0 in the Champions League Group G cracker.

Sergino Dest, Martin Braithwaite’s brace and Antoine Griezmann’s goal ensured Barca continued their perfect run in the competition. Lionel Mess and Frenkie de Jong were rested for the fixture as six new players were brought into the starting XI against the Ukrainian side. Ronald Koeman’s men had a shaky start into the match as Dynamocreated a couple of decent chances but were wasteful in front of goal. But right at the start of the second period, La Blaugrana started the game on a bright note as Dest made it 1-0 courtesy of an assist from Braithwaite in the 52nd minute.

The lead was doubled five minutes later as Oscar Mingueza flicked on a header from corner kick for Braitwaith to steer in at the near post. 2-0 it was to Barca. Braithwaite won a penalty in the 69th minute and converted the resulting spot-kick to complete his brace and make it 3-0.


Substitute Griezmann sealed it for Barcelona in the second minute of the 90 as the Frenchman’s shot found the roof of the net from a Jordi Alba’s assist.

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