Ousmane Dembele stars for France as the world champions seal a comfortable 2-0 win over Kazakhstan on Sunday.
France secure their seventh consecutive away win on the international stage following a 2-0 victory over Kazakhstan. The result in Astana also served as their maiden win in their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.
It was a deserved three points for Les Bleus as well, as they dominated their opposition for the most part of the game. They were on top especially during the first half, creating numerous scoring opportunities and even finding a couple of goals, one of which was an own goal scored by Serhiy Malyi.
The other one was scored by Ousmane Dembele, who also created a lot of chances in the second half. However, an inspiring performance from Kazakhstan goalkeeper Aleksandr Mokin saw France get denied a third goal numerous times, including a penalty save around the 75th-minute mark.
Fortunately for the away side, they had done enough to secure an important victory before they travel to Sarajevo to face Bosnia & Herzegovina for their third game in the European qualifiers. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at the French players in their win over Kazakhstan in Astana this weekend.
Hugo Lloris: 6.5/10
Hugo Lloris didn’t have much to do this afternoon as Kazakhstan provided very little threat on goal. In fact, the hosts only managed one shot on target, with that too being a tame effort. The veteran goalkeeper did remain cautious in between the sticks, though while his leadership and experience were in key marshalling the French troops.
Leo Dubois: 6/10
Replacing Benjamin Pavard at right-back, Leo Dubois did not particularly have a great game, especially in the first half where he had to remain careful of Kazakhstan’s offensive threat from wide areas. Did not provide too much service going forward either, but a solid defensive display nonetheless.
Kurt Zouma: 6/10
Kurt Zouma was largely untroubled at the heart of the French defence. In truth, though, the Chelsea defender was barely provided with any real test as Kazakhstan strikers failed to offer anything going forward. As such, Zouma was mostly seen distributing possession out from the back.
Clement Lenglet: 6/10
Clement Lenglet stepped in, in place of Raphael Varane in the French backline, as part of Didier Deschamps’ complete first-team rotation. The Barcelona centre-back avoided making any defensive errors while using his ability to read the game to good effect. Solid in possession as well, attempting 100 passes with a 95% accuracy.
Lucas Digne: 6.5/10
Lucas Digne had a much better game when compared to Dubois. Operating on the left-hand side of the defence, the former PSG full-back offered decent support going forward, especially in the second half. He seems to be an excellent alternative at left-back for Lucas Hernandez and could make a strong case for becoming the first-team starter in the Euros.
Paul Pogba: 7/10
With N’Golo Kante sustaining an injury in the last game, Paul Pogba was given the nod in midfield. The Manchester United superstar didn’t provide as much quality defensively, but he certainly tried to orchestrate the game with his passing and technical quality. The midfielder created a few scoring opportunities for his team while also impressing the onlookers in winning back possession.
Paul Pogba vs. Kazakhstan:
59 minutes played
50 passes completed
89.3% pass accuracy
6 long balls completed
6 ball recoveries
2 shots pic.twitter.com/j1r4E4lb6z
— PogbaXtra™ (@PogbaXtra) March 28, 2021
Tanguy Ndombele: 6/10
Tanguy Ndombele’s partnership with Pogba at the base of France’s 4-2-3-1 was a relatively weird one as both the players like to drive forward into the final third. It ultimately stifled the freedom of Ndombele’s offensive game, with the Tottenham man being eventually consigned to just passive roles in the middle of the park.
Ousmane Dembele: 7.5/10
Ousmane Dembele made a huge impression on his return to the starting lineup, producing a memorable performance on the right-hand side. He scored the opener with a potent finish and also created multiple opportunities after the restart, despite no real success for his team. A good attacking display that should please Deschamps nonetheless.
Pogba pre assist ➡️ Martial turn ➡️ Dembele goalpic.twitter.com/hgfNCZxeXK
— 🌊™️ (@RealistGlizzy) March 28, 2021
Antoine Griezmann: 6.5/10
Antoine Griezmann was one of only two players to retain his place in the starting lineup, from the side that faced Ukraine in midweek. The Barcelona man didn’t disappoint, as such, offering a lot of movement in and around the Zone 14 area, navigating through Kazakhstan’s second line of press, albeit deep.
Thomas Lemar: 6/10
Much like Dembele, Thomas Lemar made a solid impression early on with his creativity and dynamism on the left-hand side. He most notably created an excellent opportunity for Anthony Martial with a delicate chip. However, his performance faded as the game progressed, so it was surprising to see him remain on the pitch till the very end.
Anthony Martial: 6.5/10
Starting ahead of Olivier Giroud and Wissam Ben Yedder, Anthony Martial showed his worth around the first quarter of the game, pulling off a marvellous turn to register the assist for Dembele’s opener. The Man United forward did miss one excellent opportunity, though, and was replaced around the hour mark with an injury.
Kylian Mbappe: 7/10
Kylian Mbappe was brought on for Martial to add more dynamism and pace in the French attack. The 22-year-old didn’t disappoint either, becoming a lively figure in the final third and winning a penalty. Unfortunately, his effort was saved by Mokin.
Wissam Ben Yedder: 6/10
Ben Yedder replaced Griezmann in the 59th minute – a move that can be described as a precautionary one as Deschamps wanted the Barcelona superstar to remain fit ahead of the next game against Bosnia.
Adrien Rabiot: 6/10
Adrien Rabiot came on for Pogba around the hour-mark, adding more stability in the middle of the park.
Moussa Sissoko: N/A
A late replacement for Ndombele. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Kingsley Coman: N/A
A late replacement for Dembele. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.