It’s a losing start for the Irish on the Euro 2024 qualifying as they succumbed to Benjamin Pavard’s superb second-half goal in Dublin.
In a game of few chances, the host had held the French in the first half but fell behind five minutes after the restart when Pavard intercepted a Josh Cullen pass and fired past Gavin Bazunu.
In a bid to share the spoils, the Republic put the 2022 World Cup finalists under severe pressure late on but fell short. The game’s high point was Mike Maignan’s stunning save, denying Nathan Collins a late leveler.
The Republic will have to wait till their next qualifier in Greece on June 16 to have any hope of a win in the campaign.
Contrastingly, France may be on time as they are already well on their way to qualifying for next year’s finals in Germany after backing up their rout of the Netherlands with a narrow win in front of a raucous Dublin crowd.
This was a different performance from Les Bleus, who blew the Dutch away on Friday with three goals inside the opening 22 minutes. They ensured the total points were secured, punishing their host after being gifted the winner at the Aviva Stadium. Pavard devastatingly punished a sloppy pass with a brilliant right-footed shot to secure maximum points for the 2018 World Cup winners.
After scoring the opener, many expected the French to coast to three points, but Didier Deschamps’ side could not find a second as the Irish were pushing for an equaliser. If they had got it, it would have been an impressive point.
They were only stopped from securing their first point of the campaign by Maignan, who produced a series of impressive stops to outshine his more illustrious team-mates, leaving the Irish frustrated.