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Finland Miss Out on Qatar as France Go Marching on!


Finland Miss Out on Qatar as France Go Marching on!

Finland Miss Out on Qatar as France Go Marching on!

Benzema and Mbappé find the net for the visitors, as France kill off Finland’s World Cup hopes.

Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappé were on target in a dynamic second-half performance, as France finished their World Cup qualifying campaign, with a 2-0 away victory, against Finland on Tuesday.

The French attack was poor until Benzema came on as a substitute and Mbappé provided the assist for the opening goal on 66 minutes.

Finland, who were hoping to secure a playoff spot, finished third on 11 points, one behind Ukraine, who beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-0 away, to secure second place.

“We wanted to finish on a high and we’re happy we did it. Now we’re looking forward to the World Cup. With the team we have it’s natural to think about [winning] it,” Benzema said.

Group D winners, France, have now found the net in their last 18 games, equalling a record that goes back to 1999-2000.

Finland were the last team to keep a clean sheet against Les Bleus and it seemed like they may do it again here, but Benzema’s entrance in the 57th minute ended their hopes.

Didier Deschamps had made five changes to the team who obliterated Kazakhstan, with Kingsley Coman and Benzema on the bench.

The pair’s absence was clearly felt as the French struggled to create chances against a well-drilled Finland team.

Just before the half-time whistle, Leo Dubois picked up a thigh injury and was replaced by Benjamin Pavard.

Finland started the second half with conviction, but their opponents’ defence stayed awake and the visitors changed gear when Moussa Diaby was substituted for Benzema.

They got their reward in the 66th minute, with the Real Madrid forward finding the back of the net, with a deflected low shot, after a clever one-two with Mbappé.

Ten minutes later, the Paris Saint-Germain star outpaced three Finnish players on the left wing, before finishing with a fantastic curled shot into the far corner, for his 24th international goal!

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