France top Nations League group with Germany win
France remain top of UEFA Nations League Group 1 after beating Germany 2-1 at the Stade de France. Antoine Griezmann scored twice (62', pen. 80') to drown out Toni Kroos' opener (pen. 14').
October 16, 2018
UEFA Nations League
Stade de France, Paris
France 2-1 Germany
Kylian Mbappé was restored to France's starting line-up after coming off the bench to help rescue a 2-2 draw against Iceland on Thursday, and served immediate notice of his obvious goal-threat, bombing down the right wing and turning Mats Hummels inside out before sending a cross in that eluded Griezmann (8'). It was Germany - the team France deposed as world champions in Russia last summer - who opened the scoring, though. Leroy Sané drew a penalty when Presnel Kimpembe handled his cross, and Kroos stepped up to stroke home beyond Hugo Lloris, who got a hand to it (14'). Sané then overhit a pass for Timo Werner on the counter when he might have been better taking the chance on himself (20'). Mbappé could have restored parity with half-time approaching, but he fired off-target after Griezmann's cross (39') and Germany carried their one-goal lead into the interval.
The teams remained unchanged after the break, although Mbappé switched wings, which allowed him to cut inside and test Neuer on his favoured right foot with the first attack of the half (46'). At the other end, Sané pulled wide with the goal at his mercy (54'), but France were the next to score, Lucas Hernandez crossing for his Atletico Madrid teammate Griezmann, who steered an unstoppable header beyond Neuer (61'). Gnabry stung Lloris' gloves soon after (66'), but France pulled ahead with another penalty - this time Griezmann sending Neuer the wrong way from the spot after Hummels had fouled Blaise Matuidi (80'). France continued to threaten and might have won by more had Paul Pogba not slipped when he got sight of the German goal (87').
THE PLAYER: Kylian Mbappé
There is no team in world football that would not look stronger with Mbappé in the side. The 19-year-old has the touch and turn of pace to terrify opposition defenders, but the humility and game awareness to operate out wide. Perhaps he will find himself at the point of Les Bleus' attack in the coming months. His Ligue 1 Conforama-leading eight goals suggest it would be worth a shot.
THE STAT: 6
It is now six games since France were last beaten by Germany, with three wins and two draws since the 2014 World Cup quarter-final, in which Hummels scored to give Die Mannschaft a 1-0 win.