An already qualified France blocked Finland’s way into Qatar 2022 after impressive displays from Karim Benzema and the in-form Kylian Mbappe.

Finland had plenty to gain with a result against France, as even a draw might have kept their hopes of making it to the playoffs alive. As things went, Ukraine scored twice around the same period France did, which killed off any chance for the hosts to go through.

The game began with France dominating the proceedings, although they never threatened the Finnish goal with vigour. As the half entered its last phase, Finland were the team applying pressure and trying to carve out chances, with the crowd firmly behind the side to score.

Teemu Pukki had a few efforts and one shot on target, which never troubled Hugo Lloris much. Finland came out with more determination as the second half began, pinning the entire French side in their own half. The world champions, already qualified, looked comfortable in dealing with the opposition attacks before they made changes.

Didier Deschamps brought on Karim Benzema and Kingsley Coman, which probably turned the game in France’s favour. Benzema linked well with Kylian Mbappe to score the opener and put the Finnish hopes on the sword. At the same time, news broke out of Ukraine scoring against Bosnia.

Later, Mbappe rounded off and killed any lingering hopes for Finland with his team’s second goal. The game ended with a 2-0 scoreline for the Les Bleus as they can now look forward to defending their title in Qatar. Here’s how the French stars fared in the win over Finland.

Hugo Lloris: 6/10

Lloris had a comfortable evening despite immense pressure from the Finnish attackers. Most of those got contained by the back three in front of him, while the strikes he had to deal with were of no real consequence.

Jules Kounde: 6/10

Kounde was fairly comfortable on the right side of the defence, taking charge of some attacking play from Finland. He was decent in possession while at times trying to play the ball into advanced areas without success. Taken off in the second half as France looked for a goal.

Kurt Zouma: 7/10

A brilliant performance, and it looked like he grabbed his chance when he was offered one. A towering presence in central defence, Finland had no luck beating Zouma in the air. He was strong as ever and will be satisfied with a fairly hard-worked clean sheet on the ground.

Dayot Upamecano: 6/10

All too similar to Kounde’s performance, Upamecano kept things quiet on his side, dealing with any attacking moves with ease. He did start in a rather unusual position on the left side of the defence, which he is not accustomed to much, although he looked comfortable.

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Leo Dubois: 5/10

Dubois started as a right wing-back and looked busy from the start. However, unfortunately for him, a hamstring injury before half-time ended his night.

Adrien Rabiot: 6/10

Rabiot was decent enough in midfield, although it looked like the Finnish midfielders got the better of him at times. He was largely untroubled in the centre, although he could have done a bit better to progress the ball into attacking zones.

Aurelien Tchouameni: 5/10

Tchouameni produced some good defensive work while sitting deep in his half, making a few important interceptions. The tempo changed in the second half when he was sloppy with his tackles. Yet, he kept a sizeable control of his midfield area.

Lucas Digne: 5.5/10

The two halves showed different sides of Digne. After a quiet first half, sitting deep on his side, the Everton full-back looked busy, and Benzema and Mbappe looked lively alongside the left-back. A decent outing for the Frenchman.

Antoine Griezmann: 6/10

It was Griezmann’s 59th consecutive game for France, last missing a clash in September 2017 against England. On the game, he was a bit quiet on the attacking front. However, he was more involved following Benzema’s introduction.

Moussa Diaby: 5.5/10

A surprise starter, although given the lack of agenda for France in this game, Deschamps thought giving him a chance would not bother too much. A decent outing without much to show for his attacking forays.

Kylian Mbappe: 8/10

Mbappe continued his recent goalscoring form with another strike. His goal was the second for France, which killed off the game for Finland and more or less dumped them out of the running for a playoffs spot.


Benjamin Pavard: 5/10

Pavard came on for Leo Dubois and, playing in an attacking wing-back position on the right, failed to bring his ideas to fruition. Did a decent job defensively, especially when Finland applied some pressure.

Kingsley Coman: 6/10

Coman brought in some vigour in the attacking unit, as he and Benzema changed the game’s momentum to give France the edge. His impact from the right side was noteworthy.

Karim Benzema: 8/10

Benzema changed the complexion of the game as he connected the entire attacking unit as one. He linked up well with Mbappe to score the opener, giving his team the edge and probably the confidence before they put in the second.

Matteo Guendouzi: N/A

Guendouzi made his senior France debut after a prolonged waiting period. He did not spend enough time on the pitch to have any impact.

Jordan Veretout: N/A

Veretout was not on the pitch long enough to make any real impact.

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