Report and free match highlights as debutants claim famous Finland win in the Stade de France
Wednesday 11 November 2020 22:53, UK
Finland stunned World Cup winners France 2-0 in a friendly on Wednesday as the hosts were punished for missing a number of chances.
Premier League quintet Paul Pogba, Olivier Giroud, Moussa Sissoko, Lucas Digne and Kurt Zouma all started for the reigning world champions, and things looked to be going to the script as France carved open the visiting defence early on.
But two goals in three first-half minutes from Brentford’s Marcus Forss and striker Onni Valakari – both of whom were making their international debuts – clinched victory for the visitors, who are ranked 55th in the world.
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How Finland stunned France
Forward Marcus Thuram, the son of Lilian Thuram, could have made a scoring debut at Stade de France where his father netted the only two goals of his long international career in the World Cup semifinal against Croatia in 1998.
Thuram almost scored with his first chance for France when he headed against the crossbar from close range in the 16th minute. Two minutes later, Thuram volleyed over another good opportunity from close range and tried his luck with a speculative curling shot a few minutes later.
With Thuram probing down the left and combining well with striker Wissam Ben Yedder, the French looked in total control only to concede twice in quick succession.
After midfielder Moussa Sissoko gave the ball away in the 28th, Forss charged into the penalty area and finished confidently with a driving shot. Three minutes later, the Valakari curled a shot past goalkeeper Steve Mandanda from the edge of the penalty area.
France had a lot of the possession in the second half yet created little until the latter stages.
Thuram tried his luck with a speculative shot from outside the area with 20 minutes left but it was easily saved, and then midfielder NGolo Kante sliced well wide after being set up by Anthony Martial’s neat flick.
Thuram was France’s most dangerous player throughout and his cushioned touch allowed Martial a late shot which he blasted over. Then, in the last minute of injury time, striker Antoine Griezmann rolled a shot wide from Martial’s pass on a sloppy night for France.
France face Portugal in their Nations League fixture on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Football. They then welcome Sweden on Tuesday, also live on the Sky Sports Football red button. Both games kick-off at 7.45pm
For Finland, they face an away trip to Bulgaria on Sunday, live on the Sky Sports Football red button; kick-off 5pm. They will they travel to Wales for their final Nations League game on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7.30pm; kick-off 7.45pm.
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