Two matches before the end of qualifying for Euro 2023, the France U21 team had the opportunity, on Monday, to get a little closer to Georgia and Romania, host countries for the next competition. At the Academy Stadium in Yerevan, Les Bleuets, leaders of Group H with 22 points, crossed swords with Armenia, bottom of the pool with 3 points (1 win, 7 losses). Authors of a course, so far, perfectly mastered (7 wins and a draw), the men of Sylvain Ripoll, winners of Serbia (2-0) last Thursday, could therefore consolidate their lead and get closer to the objective.
For this meeting, the French coach made four changes compared to the victory against Serbia and aligned a 4-3-3. The defensive corridors were thus occupied by Gusto and Merlin (in place of Kalulu and Truffert) while Le Fée was preferred to Thuram in the midfield to support Caqueret and Camavinga. In front, Diop, preferred to Gouiri, started alongside Kalimuendo and Ngoumou. Opposite, Rafayel Nazaryan also opted for a 4-3-3 where Mkrtchyan and Grigoryan accompanied Hovhannisyan on the front of the attack. Before moving to Turkey on Thursday evening to face Ukraine, where only a very large defeat would deprive them of first place in the group, Les Bleuets got their match off to a perfect start.
The fairy tale continues!
Dominating from the start, Ngoumou’s teammates quickly found the fault through Le Fée, author of a clear strike from the left (0-1, 21st). Launched, the Bleuets kept control of the game and Diop was very close to making the break a few moments later (26th). In control and facing completely harmless Armenians, France was logically in the lead at the break. Upon returning from the locker room, the face of this meeting hardly changed. Carried by a conquering collective, the Bleuets quietly controlled the debates and Armenia could only see the damage.
On the hour mark, Sylvain Ripoll decided to rotate and Abline, Gouiri and Koné entered the game. A choice that paid off since the OGC Nice striker doubled the bet from the penalty spot in stride (0-2, 66th). Completely dominating, France was nevertheless surprised, just after, by Shaghoyan who revived the suspense (1-2, 68th) with a beautiful curled shot from the right. In vain, at the start of the last quarter of an hour Le Fée, on a free kick, finally offered himself a double to give his team a two-goal lead (1-3, 76th). At the very end of the match, Gusto finally closed the offensive festival of the Tricolores (1-4, 89th) and thus offered the three points to the Bleuets. With this new victory (4-1), the France U21 team consolidates its first place and is inexorably approaching direct qualification for Euro 2023.
The official line-ups at kick-off
The starting 1️⃣1️⃣ of our Blueberries for this penultimate qualifying match at Euro Espoirs 2023!
— French team ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) June 6, 2022
Nersesyan – Ghazaryan, Simonyan, Manukyan, Samsonyan – Ghubasaryan, Nalbandyan, Khamoyan – Mkrtchyan, Hovhannisyan, Grigoryan