The reigning world champions no longer win. Eliminated in the round of 16 of the Euro by Switzerland (3-3, 5-4 tab), the Blues again drew Saturday on Ukrainian soil, on the same score as last Wednesday against Bosnia, but by returning better copy.
In Kiev, for more than an hour, the coach Didier Deschamps, already deprived of Kylian Mbappé, affected in a calf, also chose to deprive himself of Karim Benzema. And it was the Ukrainians who opened the scoring, by Shaparenko (44e minute), with a superb shot, after a nice counter-attack following a failed face-to-face by Anthony Martial.
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The Manchester United striker still found the opening (50e) as soon as the restart, at close range, and scored his first goal in Blue since 2016. The victory could have come from Moussa Diaby (77e), whose nice cross shot hit the Ukrainian post.
Still leading Group D
Little consolation, in accounting terms, the Habs remain at the top of Group D of these qualifiers, with 9 points, and have a good lead over the Ukrainians (5 pts) and Finland (5 pts), which they host on Tuesday September 7 in Lyon. Victorious Saturday of Kazakhstan (1-0), the Finns are two games less than the Blues and are only four points behind France.
“The situation may not be better than before the match (in Ukraine, editor’s note), but it is not fundamentally worse either “, played down Didier Deschamps, inviting his players to “Do not give up”. On the land of Karim Benzema, the Blues will however not have the right to make mistakes, otherwise the final sprint of the qualifiers, in November, will be very tense.