Tchouameni
Les Bleus

France draw as Tchouaméni impresses

Publish on 05/09/2021 at 09:07 - D. CROSSAN

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Monaco midfielder Aurélien Tchoumaéni starred for Les Bleus on his first international start on Saturday night but could not prevent Les Bleus from being held 1-1 in Ukraine, the world champions' fifth consecutive draw.

Having played 45 minutes against Bosnia and Herzegovina in a 1-1 draw on Wednesday evening, Tchouaméni was promoted to Didier Deschamps' starting line-up in Kiev. The 21-year-old was arguably France's best player and it could be the first start of many for the former Bordeaux man.

Martial ends five-year drought

For the fifth international running, France conceded the opening goal as Mykola Shaparenko (44') gave Ukraine the lead with an outstanding goal. Anthony Martial (50') started at centre-forward with Kylian Mbapé injured and Karim Benzema left on the bench and the Manchester United forward scored his first international goal since netting his only other France strike against Italy in September 2016.

France remain top of World Cup qualifying Group D with nine points from five games but could do with returning to winning ways when they host Finland in Lyon on Tuesday. The Finns are second in the section, four points back but with two games in hand.

Of the side that started the World Cup final in 2018, only captain Hugo Lloris, midfielder Paul Pogba and forward Antoine Griezmann began the match in Ukraine and Deschamps commented: "The World Cup was three years ago and what is important is what is happening now and in the future. We know our situation and I have confidence in the players who are here. We mustn't look in the rear-view mirror."

Lloris: "Lacking a bit of confidence"

Lloris added: "We can see we're lacking a bit of confidence and there has been quite a bit of turnover in terms of players. It's down to everybody to lift their level. We need to stay positive and start well against Finland."

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