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France 2-0 Finland: Player ratings as Antoine Griezmann brace guides Les Bleus to victory

Krishan Davis
France celebrate Antoine Griezmann's second strike
France celebrate Antoine Griezmann's second strike / FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images
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Antoine Griezmann's clinical brace saw France end a run of five consecutive draws as they comfortably defeated Finland in Lyon on Tuesday night in 2022 World Cup qualifying.

After Finland controlled the early stages, Griezmann opened the scoring 25 minutes in with a wonderful outside-of-the-boot finish into the bottom corner from the angle after some neat combination play with Karim Benzema.

The match swung after that, with Les Bleus seizing the initiative and dominating proceedings.

The new Atletico Madrid signing doubled up early in the second period, squeezing the ball home from a tight angle following more classy work in the build-up from Benzema, who pirouetted between two defenders before breaking away.

Griezmann spurned two good chances for a hat-trick, first lashing over after some intricate passing with Benzema and Anthony Martial before sending a bicycle kick narrowly wide.

His brace was enough, however. The result leaves France seven points clear of second-placed Ukraine in Group D, although they have played a game more.

Didier Deschamps' men had drawn their previous five matches in 90 minutes, stretching back to the group stages of Euro 2020. They were knocked out of that competition on penalties by neighbours Switzerland at the last 16 stage, following a dramatic 3-3 draw.

Here's how the French players rated...


FRANCE PLAYER RATINGS

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

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Kimpembe celebrates with Griezmann / FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Hugo Lloris (GK) - 7/10 - Forced to palm over an awkward deflected shot from Urso Nissila in the first half. A quiet night otherwise.

Kurt Zouma (CB) - 7/10 - Had barely anything to do in truth, but was good on the ball and did his job. One excellent headed clearance of note.

Raphael Varane (CB) - 7/10 - Typically assured at the back. Unflappable.

Presnel Kimpembe (CB) - 7/10 - Forced into an important interception early on, cutting out a cross. Almost beaten by Teemu Pukki on a breakaway but took him down. Carried the ball forward well in the second period, starting attacks.


2. Wing-backs & midfielders

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Griezmann fires home with the outside of his boot / FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Leo Dubois (RWB) - 7/10 - Effective at both ends. Saw a close-range effort blocked. Sent a looping effort just wide in the second half. Assist for the second. Injured and subbed.

Paul Pogba (CM) - 7/10 - Became key as France began to dominate in the first half, seeing a shot flash narrowly wide. Some excellent footwork after the break, ripe for a highlights package. Excellent clipped pass to play Benzema in, but the striker was denied. Escaped a late penalty shout after bringing down Pukki.

Adrien Rabiot (CM) - 6/10 - Anonymous as Finland dominated the central areas early on. Looked more confident after France took the lead but still didn't add much. Tested Hradecky in the second period.

Theo Hernandez (LWB) - 7/10 - On debut. Looked typically busy early on, getting forward and firing a shot narrowly wide from range. Made a scintillating, lung-busting run to almost put it on a plate for Martial.

Antoine Griezmann (AM) - 9/10 - Loose in possession as Finland controlled the midfield early on, but started to influence things before producing a perfect outside-of-the-boot finish - his 40th international goal. Squeezed a second home from a tight angle after the break. Could have got his hat-trick - first after wonderful link-up with both Martial and Benzema before firing over, then sent a collapsing volley wide.


3. Forwards

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Benzema was unplayable at times / FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Anthony Martial (ST) - 6/10 - Unable to form a connection with Benzema early on, before suddenly developing an understanding with his strike partner and Griezmann behind with some neat passing. Subbed.

Karim Benzema (ST) - 8/10 - Elegant link-up play with Griezmann before stinging Lukas Hradecky's fingertips after a quiet start. Synergy with Griezmann again with a cheeky assist for the opener. Exquisite turn in the build-up to the second. Denied by the keeper again after latching onto Pogba's lovely pass.


4. Substitutes

Nordi Mukiele - 6/10 - Another debut and a reflection of the depth in the French squad.

Wissam Ben Yedder - N/A

Clement Lenglet - N/A

Aurelien Tchouameni - N/A


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