Two years and nine months after becoming world champions in Russia, France began to defend the title with a draw. At the Stade de France, the “Bleus” failed to beat a draw (1-1) against Ukraine in the first round of Group D of the European qualifying, an unfavorable start for a team that is always the favorite in every game. On the contrary, this was a very tasty draw for the team coached by Andriy Schevchenko, who scores a goal in his most difficult game at the beginning and significantly increases his chances of a direct qualification for Qatar.
France started even better and prevailed in the 19th minute with a spectacular shot from Antoine Griezmann against the Ukrainian goalkeeper Buschan. The Deschamps team with all their players on the field (including Mbappé, Griezmann, Giroud) could not extend this advantage and had to accept the equalizer in the second half with 57 minutes. Sydorch picked up a lost ball in the French region, attempted a shot that looked weak and aimless, but the ball hit Kimpembe and slowly went to the bottom of Lloris’ goal.
In the other game in the group there was also a draw (2-2) between Finland and Bosnia. The Finns, fed by Teemu Pukki’s two goals, were able to use the advantage almost to the end, but Stevanovic saved a point for the Bosnians.
In Group A, the Serbia-Republic of Ireland was much more excited in Belgrade, as in Portugal, than in Turin. The victory smiled at the Balkan team 3-2. But it was the Irish who took the lead from Alan Browne with 18 minutes. Serbia managed to equalize before the break through Vlahovic in the 40 ‘and managed the turnaround in the 69’ with a goal from Mitrovic, who made it 3-1 in the 75 ‘shortly afterwards. Ireland still managed to get James Collins down to 86, but it wasn’t time to at least save the tie.