2022 World Cup qualifiers

Griezmann stars as France take control of their 2022 World Cup qualifying group

Antoine Griezmann scored France's winner against Bosnia-Herzegovina in their 2022 World Cup qualifier.
Antoine Griezmann scored France's winner against Bosnia-Herzegovina in their 2022 World Cup qualifier. FRANCK FIFE AFP

World champions France took command of their 2022 World Cup qualifying pool on Wednesday night following a 1-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Antoine Griezmann headed home Adrien Rabiot’s cross from the left in the 60th minute at the Grbavica Stadium in Sarajevo.

It was the Barcelona striker’s 35th international goal to take him past David Trezeguet into fourth place in the country’s all-time scoring lists.

Only Michel Platini, Olivier Giroud and Thierry Henry lie ahead of him.

“I’m proud of my record and my performances with the national team,” Griezmann told French broadcaster M6.

“It was a difficult game. Everyone was tired after the two previous matches and the travelling. 

“They defended with five at the back and they were a tough team to break down.

“There were times when it wasn’t pretty to look at but we got the main thing which was the three points.”

Pacesetters

France, who claimed their second title in Russia in 2018, boast seven points after the first three games of Group D.

Ukraine are second with three points following their 1-1 draw in Kyiv with Kazakhstan.

The next three matches take place between 1 and 7 September. 

Elsewhere in European qualifiers for next year’s tournament in Qatar, Germany suffered a shock home defeat against North Macedonia.

Veteran striker Goran Pandev scored the opener for the visitors during first-half stoppage time at the Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena in Duisburg.

Ilkay Gundogan equalised for the hosts in the 63rd minute. But Eljif Elmas made it 2-1 five minutes from time to take North Macedonia into second place ahead of Germany on goal difference in Group J.  Armenia lead the pool with nine points following their 3-2 success over Romania. 

In Group C, Italy also have maximum points after three games. Roberto Mancini's men laboured though against Lithuania in Vilnius.

Ciro Immobile scored from the penalty spot in second-half stoppage time to seal the win following Stefano Sensi's strike just after the restart.

Stones not thrown

In Group I, England maintained their 100 percent record with a 2-1 win against Poland.

England skipper Harry Kane converted a 19th minute penalty to give Gareth Southgate’s side the lead at Wembley.

But Poland levelled after defender John Stones lost possession on the edge of the England penalty area. Jakub Moder punished the sloppiness.

However, five minutes from time, Stones redeemed himself. He headed Kalvin Phillips’ corner into the path of fellow defender Harry Maguire who thumped the ball into the roof of the net.

"It’s nice to get the victory,” Maguire told ITV. “John Stones has been brilliant this year. We’re defenders and when we make mistakes we are scrutinised but he made up for it with a great header at the far post.”

England resume their quest for a place in Qatar on 2 September in Hungary. They entertain Andorra three days later and travel to Poland for a clash on 8 September.

“To concede a goal like we did can hit the team,” added Southgate. “John managed to compose himself for the rest of the game and had a part in the winning goal. You can fold in those moments and he didn’t. He’s been having a really good season.”

 

 

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