We take a look at how Les Bleus fared during their 2-1 victory in the UEFA Nations League last night.
Hugo Lloris – 7
In the first half, there were a few moments where the game could have been out of reach for France if it wasn’t for the saves and touches of Hugo Lloris. He may not have made the same volume of saves as he did against Iceland, but his touch to divert the ball away from the feet of Timo Werner in the 1st half proved to be a big moment in the match.
Benjamin Pavard – 5
Matches like this is where Pavard excels. He can afford to sit deeper and defend but can also push up at times, even if he doesn’t do it all too often. He showed his intelligence when dealing with crosses, struggled a little up against quick opposition, but it was a good showing from the right back against the nation where he ply’s his trade.
Raphael Varane – 6
Another France win, another top Varane performance. The leader of the four defenders and very vocal when he needs to be, Varane showed his experience during the first half when Germany looked likeliest to score, even before their penalty. He held the backline well, even if it did look somewhat disjointed and although he and Kimpembe sometimes left themselves a bit too much to do when it came to tracking back via their high line, Varane recovered well.
Presnel Kimpembe – 3
One thing that I will praise Kimpembe for is that even when he makes multiple errors, he never hides from the game and will always get involved. That being said, the fact Kimpembe is making mistakes is a huge cause for concern. His second half was much better than his first, but after giving away a penalty it couldn’t get much worse for him. That makes two games in a row where Kimpembe has negatively been involved in the opposition’s goal, and if he wants to carry on in the French side he needs to pick up his performances.
Lucas Hernandez – 6
A solid evening for the Atletico Madrid man who laid on the cross for the French equaliser and was at times a good attacking option. Was it a vintage performance from Hernandez? No, but he did well enough when called upon tonight and has shown definite signs of improvement in his defensive work since the World Cup, which is always a positive, especially up against quick attackers like Leroy Sané and Timo Werner.
Paul Pogba – 5
Tonight’s match didn’t seem to kick off until after the half time whistle. At least, that’s the impression that Paul Pogba gave tonight because he didn’t bother showing up in the first half. A terrible display from the Manchester United man got better in the second period when he upped his mentality and performance levels, but if Kimpembe is to blame for giving away the German penalty, Pogba should shoulder the entirety of the blame for his lazy play in the midfield where he turned the ball over, which led to the penalty.
N’Golo Kanté – 5.5
In the opening 25 minutes or so of this game, Kanté was nowhere to be seen which is unlike him, but in the second half he put in a really strong defensive performance in the middle to prevent Germany having the ball as much as they did in the first 45 and prevented them creating any meaningful chances.
A somewhat strange performance from someone who is usually so reliable in big fixtures like this, but thankfully for France, Kanté decided to show up and put in a good shift.
Kylian Mbappé – 6
The problem that Mbappé will endure now is that every time he gets the ball, the crowd will expect him to pull of something extraordinary. Of course he has the talent to do so, but it’s not possible every time and while tonight he had the German defence on their heels every time he ran at them, he wasn’t able to get on the scoresheet like he did against Iceland. However, whilst he didn’t score or get an assist he was still a good threat on the counter attack and opened up a lot of space.
Antoine Griezmann – 7
The match winner and two goal hero, was bright, looking for the ball and attempting to create whenever he got possession and his two goals were deserved for the industrious performance he put in. The first a wonderfully flicked header at the front post (something that you’d expect Alan Shearer to have pulled off) and the second a trademark penalty.
Blaise Matuidi – 5
Is there still a place in this team for Matuidi? I say this with huge respect for his ability and his career and while I understand that Deschamps trusts Blaise with his energy and experience, isn’t his role something that a player like Tanguy N’Dombélé could do better, or someone similar?
Olivier Giroud – 6
Giroud will get criticised by some tonight for not scoring (what’s new) but overall he was very important to how France played – yet again. His hold up play with superb and his flick-ons to Griezmann and Mbappé allowed them to run at the German defenders, who couldn’t deal with pace as well as they could deal with Giroud. Could Hummels and Süle deal with Giroud all day long? Maybe, seeing as he’s more suited to their styles than anyone else, but that doesn’t mean they were able to entirely contain him tonight.
Ousmane Dembélé for Mbappé – N/A
Tanguy N’Dombélé for Griezmann – N/A
Steven N’Zonzi for Kanté – N/A