Wed, 27 Sep 2023

France boss Didier Deschamps hailed goalkeeper Mike Maignan for two saves in the closing stages of his side's European championships qualifier against Republic of Ireland.

The 27-year-old AC Milan star, who took over as main goalkeeper following the retirement of skipper Hugo Lloris, acrobatically prevented Jules Kounde from scoring an own-goal.

And from the resulting corner, Maignan flew acrobatically to palm Nathan Collins' header over the bar.

"That's Mike," beamed Deschamps after the 1-0 victory at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Monday night.

"What he did was as good as a goal. He's earned us two points."

Benjamin Pavard thrashed in France's winner just after half-time.

But the World Cup finalists, who pulverized the Netherlands 4-0 in their opening Euro 2024 qualifier last Friday, failed to capitalise on their breakthrough.


Instead, Stephen Kenny's players grew more menacing in the search for a leveller.

"We knew we were facing one of the best teams in the world, who only lost on penalties in the World Cup final," said Kenny.

"We had a very good end to the game. And there is this save at the end which is incredible, exceptional."

Pavard had not played for France since a miserable game against Australia during the group stages at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

"The tournament in Qatar didn't go as I would have liked," Pavard told L'Equipe TV.

"I was happy after each victory there as I am here for the team. I had the opportunity to play against Ireland and it went well for me. I hope it will continue."

The victory allowed France to remain top of Group B with six points. The Netherlands bounced back from the rout against France with a 3-0 success over Malta.

Memphis Depay opened the scoring for Ronald Koeman's team mid way through the first-half. Nathan Ake doubled the advantage just after the break and the Manchester City defender bagged his brace eight minutes from time.

Originally published on RFI

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