Sylvain Ripoll’s team will play in the Euro U21 finals for the second time in a row in 2021.
The France Espoirs team qualified for Euro 2021 after their easy success in Liechtenstein (5-0), Thursday in Vaduz, during the 9th and penultimate day of the qualifiers. This is a rare performance in the history of the Bleuets: in the spring they will play their second European Championship in a row, a double that their predecessors had only managed once, in 1994 and 1996. “Take part. at two Euros consecutively, that’s a good thing, but it’s also the place of the France team to be there, ”recalled the coach Sylvain Ripoll, already behind the qualification for the 2019 edition, at Canal + Sport.
With eight wins for one loss, his team opened wide the doors to competition, ensuring its presence among the top five second (out of nine groups). The first place remains within reach, in the event of victory, Monday in Caen, against Switzerland, the only selection to have beaten it during this campaign, and which occupies the head with 27 points taken out of 27 possible. The team-mates of Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Mattéo Guendouzi must beat the “Nati” by two goals in order to take the lead, and collect points in the UEFA coefficient for the purpose of the draw. “This game is very important to us, because I don’t want to finish second. It’s important to finish first, ”assured the coach.
Lihadji scorer for his first
Before this final, the Bleuets showed seriousness to validate their qualification on the lawn of the group’s red lantern. In five minutes, it was folded! The goals of Colin Dagba (3rd) and Romain Faivre (5th) quickly dispelled the little suspense that surrounded the fate of the meeting.
In a one-sided game (20 shots to one), France did not give any gifts for the first selection of local goalkeeper, Luca Vanoni, replacing FC Balzers, the Liechtenstein club which plays in the Swiss fourth division. Loïc Badiashile pushed Roman Spirig to score against his camp (17th), on a corner from Guendouzi. Reine-Adelaide, wearing the captain’s armband, added to the bill after half time with a direct eccentric free kick (57th), before serving Isaac Lihadji for the 5-0 (80th). The young Lille, 18, unlocked his counter in his first match with the Hopes. He only missed a goal from Odsonne Edouard, the top French scorer in the playoffs (9 goals), who did not transform his chances (14th, 54th).
The face of the match made us forget the many absences due to managerial injuries – Dayot Upamecano, Wesley Fofana, Rayan Aït-Nouri, Jonathan Ikoné … It is against Switzerland that the Bleuets will pass their stress test, for their last appearance before the Euro. The European Championship, co-hosted by Slovenia and Hungary, takes place in two parts, with the group stage between March 24 and 31, and the final draw, from May 31 to June 6.