France vs Finland summary: score, goals, highlights, 2022 World Cup qualifier
France vs Finland: match report; as it happened
On-the-whistle match report from Julien Pretot
Antoine Griezmann played chief tormentor as France sprung back into life to end a five-game winless streak by beating visitors Finland 2-0 in a World Cup Group D qualifier on Tuesday. Griezmann struck in each half after his partnership with Karim Benzema bore fruit in satisfying fashion to put the world champions on 12 points from six matches at the top of the group.
Finland, who had a decent opening half, are third on five points but have two games in hand of the French. Bosnia are fourth on three points from four games after a 2-2 draw with bottom side Kazakhstan, who also have three points. Ukraine are second on five points from as many matches. (Reuters)
The ref blows his whistle as France record a very comfortable 2-0 win over 58th ranked Finland in Lyon, where Benzema and brace-hero Griezmann were the stand out players on the evening.
The first four minutes of added time have been subdued. France in possession can they net a very late third goal? Deschamps still very animated on the touchline, he definitely wants that third goal.
Seven minutes of added time to be played.
Griezmann receives a rapturous applause as he walks off to be replaced by Tchouameni. Two goals and one fine overall performance from the 30-year-old forward.
Finland have had very very little to offer but may have had a penalty there as Pukki appeared to have been taken down by Lloris close to the goal posts. But no penatly given so Finland will have a corner instead. Corner comes in but France clear the ball away.
Chance France! As Pogba releases Benzema with a long ball over the top. The French striker lets the ball bounce a couple of times before launching a half-volley in the direction of Hradecky, who gets down to slap the ball away to deny Benzema his first goal of the game.
Kimpembe shoots! Griezmann tees up Kimpembe at the edge oft he box, but he drives his side footed shot wide of the far post. Not a bad effort for a central defender.
Second change for France. Anthony Martial, who has stepped in for Mbappé and has had a fine game, makes way for Monaco's Ben Yedder.
France have a free kick at the edge of the top of the box. Benzema goes straight for goal but can't beat the wall.
Finland have so far had two shots (zero on target, one blocked) to France's 17 shots (four on target). French keeper Lloris has been a spectator for this game. Though let's remember this is the third FIFA ranked team against the 58th.
Griezmann shoots! The move starts with Pogba, who plays a beautiful dinked pass over the top to Benzema inside the box. Benzema loses the ball as he tries to turn to set himself up for the shot. But the falls loose to Griezmann and the Atlético striker drives his shot just wide of the right post from around 14 yards out.
First change for France: Dubois makes way for Mukiele.
Griezmann!! There were about four or five one-touch passes between Griezmann, Martial and Benzema before Griezmann found himself in a scoring position by the penalty spot, but he drives his shot just over. That was a breathtaking passage of play by France's front three.
Griezmann nets his and France's second and again it's a thing a beauty.
Benzema plays a clever flick to beat two Finnish defenders at the same time to open up the play before pushing the ball wide to Dubois on the right. Dubois spots the onrushing Griezmann, who collects the ball at speed inside the box, rounds one man and then slots the ball past Hradecky from a difficult angle close to the post. That's France goal #41 for the Atlético Madrid striker, who has been immense tonight. He's now level with Platini as France's third-highest goalscorer of all time.
While the game is stopped as Finland's Uronen receives some treatment on the pitch, the crowd chant Benzema's name. The long-time exiled striker applauds in acknowledgement.
After Theo, who has had a fine debut so far, receives some treatment, Griezmann takes the corner from the right. Finland head away the danger but only as far as Dubois, who shoots from the edge of the box but the ball goes wide of the far post.
France straight on the attack as Griezmann volleys towards goal from 12 yards out on the right. His shot takes a deflection and hits the side netting. France have a corner.
Second half starts!
France kick off the second half at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais.
Griezmann joins the 40 club
With his first-half goal, Antoine Griezmann joins Michel Platini, Thierry Henry and Olivier Giroud in the exclusive 40-goal club.
First half ends
The ref calls time on a first half that has been strongly dominated by France, who opened the scoring on 25' through Antoine Griezmann. France's front three of Griezmann, Martial and Benzema have worked very well together so far, creating all sorts of problems for a Finnish defence that was bombarded over that first half.
Finland have a free kick from a dangerous area. Uronen delivers but the ball travels straight into the hands of Lloris, who has had very little to do so far.
Pogba shoots! The Man Utd midfielder slips as he tries a half volley from 20 yards. And his sliced shot goes just wide and over the left post, drawing a big "uh" from the lively home crowd.
Benzema! Benzema is released by Martial inside the box, he skips around two players before taking a shot, but it's blocked down by the Finland defender. The Real Madrid man did well to get himself into a shooting position under heavy pressure. Nice link up play again between Benzema, Martial and Griezmann, who started the move.
Dubois gets on the end of a cross by the far post and wins a corner as his close-range shot is blocked. Greizmann takes the corner from the right, but Hradecky comes off his line to punch the ball away.
Griezmann opens the scoring for Les Bleus!
A beautifully worked goal starting with Martial on the wing, who passes inside to Benzema, who plays a cute little first-time pass to release Griezmann. The Atlético striker expertly fires his shot into the bottom far corner with his first touch. 1-0 to the hosts!
Benzema!! A quick break from France's own box ends with Griezmann teeing up Benzema inside Finland's penalty area. The Real Madrid striker fires a curling rocket that forces a good save from Hradecky.
Again Finland threaten but Varane is on hand to header away the danger from the cross.
Decent chance for Finland! Schuller crosses a short ball from the right towards Vaisanen, who headsjust wide from 10 yards out.
Finland penalized for a foul throw close to France's third, which should not be happening at this level.
A little bit of respite for Finland, who are trying to find a way out of their own half as France sit back. Eventually they lose the ball and the hosts are ready to go again.
Theo with the strike! The France debutante collects the ball a good 30 yards out and hits a decent low shot that breezes past the far post. Nice effort from the AC Milan wideman. It'a been all France in these opening 10-or-so minutes.
Again France threaten and again they win a corner, this time through Griezmann. France for the fourth time cannot test Hradecky from the corner.
Nice link-up play from Benzema and Theo ends with the latter winning a corner on the left, but France can do nothing with it as Finland head clear.
An attacking play for France ends with Benzema winning a corner as he tried a shot from a difficult angle inside the box. Griezmann delivers to Zouma, who heads and wins another corner. Griezmann takes again, this time from the other side, but the ref blows his whistle for a foul on a Finnish defender as the cross came in. Danger averted for now for the visitors, who play the ball out from the box.
O'Shaughnessy puts a long throw into the box for Finland, it's a good delivery and France are forced to put the ball out for a corner. Again it's a good delivery from the corner from Uronen, but France manage to clear the danger and are now in possession.
Finland get the game underway in front of a noisy crowd at a packed Parc Olympique Lyonnais. France in blue, Finland in white.
Five minutes to kick off
The teams are on the field and are lining out for the national anthems.
Theo Hernandez's debut for France
One debutante in the starting XI for France tonight: AC Milan's Theo Hernandez, who starts as a wingback alongside a three-man central defence.
Pressure is on Didier Deschamps
If France fail to win today, it would be for the sixth straight occasion for the 2018 World Cup winners. The pressure is piling on Didier Deschamps to pull out a win, but the coach will be expected to continue until the end of Qatar 2022 should Les Bleus qualify. Waiting in the wings of course is none other Zinedine Zidane, who is hotly tipped to be France's next coach.
Group D Standings
France currently top the group with 9 points from 5 games played (2 wins, 3 draws). Finland sit in second place with 5 points from 3 games and remain unbeaten (1 win, 2 draws). Ukraine are level on points with Finland having drawn all five of their fixtures so far.
Finland's last successful outing against France
Finland stunned France when the sides last met in November, 2020 in a friendly, with the visitors winning 2-0 at the Stade de France. Both of Finland's goals came from debutants, Marcus Forss and Onni Valakari, neither of whom start tonight. It was the first time France had conceded two goals in the first half of a home game since June 2015 against Belgium.
France team sheet is in
France Starting XI: Lloris, Kimpembe, Varane, Zouma, Hernandez, Rabiot, Pogba, Dubois, Girezmann, Benzema, Martial.
Manchester United striker Anthony Martial steps in to replace the injured Kylian Mbappé, while his club team mate Raphael Varane is at the center of a three-man defence.
Finland team to face France
Kosovo Starting XI: Hradecky, Vaisanen, Arajuuri, O'Shaughnessy, Alho, Nissila, Schuller, Kamara, Uronen, Pohjanpalo, Pukki.
Finland unbeaten in Group D
Finland, who are attempting to qualify for a World Cup for the first time in their history, remain unbeaten in the group after chalking up their first victory over Kazakhstan last weekend.
The good news for Markku Kanerva's men is that they are in second position, four points behind France with two games in hand, but they have only emerged victorious twice from their last 11 fixtures.
Despite beating France 2-0 in a friendly match in Paris in 2020, Finland have lost their other eight clashes against ‘Les Bleus’ by an aggregate score of 18-3.
France have failed to win last five games
France will be looking to secure three points against Finland in World Cup 2022 Qualifying Group D after a draw with Ukraine in their last match, while Finland came out on top in a 1-0 triumph against Kazakhstan.
While injuries affected Didier Deschamps’ team even before September's international break got underway, the loss of Kylian Mbappé with a calf issue has complicated things even more for ‘Les Bleus’.
France, with Dayot Upamecano, N'Golo Kanté, Corentin Tolisso, Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernández unavailable, haven’t won any of their last five games in all competitions, but they are still on top in Group D with nine points, four ahead of Finland and Ukraine.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the WC qualifying fixture between France and Finland at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon. Ahead of kick-off in 45 mins (at 8.45pm local time), you can follow the build up with us here before we bring you live minute-by-minute coverage of the action. Team news to follow.