Aurelien Tchouameni and Marcus Thuram left the Republic of Eire’s Euro 2024 dream hanging by a thread as France maintained their excellent begin to qualification with a regulation 2-0 win in Paris.
The pair struck both facet of half-time on the Parc des Princes to say a fifth successive Group B victory and depart Eire with simply three factors from their first 4 video games, a statistic which implies Sunday’s conflict with the Netherlands in Dublin might all however determine their destiny.
Stephen Kenny’s males have been organised and dogged, however with Ousmane Dembele tormenting Enda Stevens to such an extent that he was changed at half-time and Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann delighting a passionate residence crowd, have been unable to trigger the hosts sufficient issues with the notable exception of a Chiedozie Ogbene header which prompted a effective save from Mike Maignan.
A lot had been made in France forward of the sport of Eire keeper Gavin Bazunu’s propensity to concede from distance, however there was little he might have carried out to maintain out Tchouameni’s sweetly-struck Nineteenth-minute shot, and he was left uncovered as substitute Thuram prolonged the lead after 48 minutes.
Whereas the result in Paris was by no means prone to outline their marketing campaign, June’s defeat in Greece left Eire up in opposition to it and a repeat in opposition to the Dutch would successfully extinguish all hope.
France set off in decided trend, Adrien Rabiot thumping a shot into Bazunu’s midriff from Dembele’s pull-back earlier than John Egan needed to make a significant block to maintain out Olivier Giroud’s strike after Theo Hernandez had out-stripped the duvet down the Irish proper.
Mbappe may need carried out higher from the ensuing nook, scooping a tame try excessive after Adam Idah had taken Griezmann’s nook out of Bazunu’s attain, and the Eire keeper was relieved to see the Atletico Madrid star’s swinging Fifteenth-minute free-kick smuggled away after it reared up at him off the turf having sailed by means of a crowded penalty space.
Nevertheless, he was overwhelmed 4 minutes later when, after Griezmann had headed down for Dembele, his cross was headed away by Nathan Collins just for Mbappe to recycle the unfastened ball to Tchouameni, who curled a scrumptious shot throughout the Southampton keeper and contained in the far submit from 25 yards.
Giroud departed injured after going to floor beneath Egan’s Twenty fourth-minute problem and was changed by Thuram and with Mbappe dropping deep to choose up possession, the guests discovered themselves beneath nearly fixed strain, with Ogbene’s occasional, however largely unsupported, forays down the precise their solely significant outlet.
Bazunu fielded a speculative effort from Mbappe comfortably, however was relieved to see an offside flag come to his rescue after the Paris St Germain star had stabbed a Forty second-minute shot between his legs.
Stevens departed on the break to get replaced by James McClean, however his facet fell additional behind inside three minutes of the restart when, after Mbappe had didn’t profit from a Theo Hernandez cross, Thuram span on the lose ball to rifle into the roof of the online.
With little left to lose, the Republic threw warning to the wind and may need lowered the deficit from Ogbene’s header however for Maignan’s brilliance after Idah had overwhelmed the offside entice, and the Luton striker curled a left-foot shot inches over seconds later because the anxious keeper might solely look on.
Eire’s new-found sense of journey left them weak on the again and Mbappe’s blushes have been spared by a late offside flag after he had missed the goal in a one-on-one battle with Bazunu, who then did nicely to parry one other Tchouameni piledriver 23 minutes from time.
Dembele rattled the upright from a good angle with France in cruise management, and solely stout defence, a sequence of lower than efficient ultimate balls and a nasty miss by Thuram spared the guests additional harm.