Football: 2018 World Cup winners France beaten by Finland
International friendly, Stade de France – France 0 Finland 2 (Forss 28′, Valakari 31′)
By Our Editor/Ali Iveson(Euro Sports)
World champions France suffered a shock home defeat to Finland in their latest friendly, going down 2-0 at the Stade de France following goals from debutants.
France dominated the early proceedings and almost took the lead through a debutant of their own, Marcus Thuram, but his free header from a corner came back off the bar.
They would live to regret it as Finland struck twice in three minutes to take a 2-0 lead against the run of play. Brentford’s Marcus Forss opened the scoring, firing past Steve Mandanda at the near post after Moussa Sissoko lost the ball in midfield and the visitors launched a swift counter-attack.
Onni Valakari – like Forss making his debut aged 21 – then added a second in style, cutting in on his left foot and rifling into the top corner from 25-yards out.
Finland qualified for their first-ever major tournament last year, and tonight’s events should give them plenty of confidence ahead of the postponed Euro 2020. They did create little of note after taking a two-goal advantage, it should be noted.
There was plenty of huffing and puffing in the second half from the French, but they could not blow the Finnish defence down and discipline from those in white shirts won out.
Antoine Griezmann, Anthony Martial and N’Golo Kante were brought on in as a triple substitution, but France could still not turn possession into many clear-cut chances, aside from a golden chance for Griezmann in injury time which he fired wide, and Finland held on to beat Les Bleus for the first time in their history.