Ireland began their Euro 2024 Qualification campaign with a slim defeat to a slightly rotated France
By Mark Reilly
The Republic of Ireland fell to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of World Cup finalists France in the Aviva Stadium on Monday night during an entertaining European Championship qualifier.
A screamer from full-back Benjamin Pavard separated the sides as Ireland continued their trend of conceding great goals.
However, they impressed fans with their positivity and directness possession, while being organized and tenacious out of possession.
Following a confident start, France began to tick. On the eighth-minute mark, a huge save from Gavin
Bazunu denied Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani.
The Irish had little to shout about going forward but looked like a solid outfit in the early stages of the game and seemed comfortable.
The first caution of the game arrived on the 22nd-minute mark as Benjamin Pavard clipped Jason
Through 35 minutes of play, the home side held out well and defensively stifled much
of the visitor’s attacks.
Kenny’s men held the European giants heading into the break – a result that many would
have taken at the beginning of the game.
Following the beginning of the second half, the two-time World champions began to intensify
their pressure and it quickly showed after five minutes of play.
Pavard’s scintillating strike saw the visitors take the lead at the 50th-minute mark, leaving little chance to Bazunu between the posts and was met with a collective stunned silence around the Aviva.
However, Ireland fought back valiantly and their intensity grew, particularly in the closing twenty minutes.
Moussa Diaby almost sealed it for France before Ireland could have this strong end to the match.
The Bayer Leverkusen winger cut into his left and forced Bazunu to palm it away, who did the same five minutes later
A frantic finish to the game provided an enthralling end-to-end battle, but despite Ireland’s growing pressure, an equaliser could not be found.
The home side were left with nothing to show for their efforts but Kenny may feel his side can take a lot from such a performance.
Ireland will have to wait there months before their next European Qualifier when they face Greece on June 16.
Republic of Ireland: Bazunu; Collins, Egan, O’Shea (Browne 77′); Coleman, Molumby (Obafemi 86′), Cullen, Knight (Johnston 77′), Doherty (McClean 77′); Ogbene, Ferguson (Idah 65′).
France: Maignan; Pavard, Konate, Upamecano, T Hernandez; Camavinga, Griezmann, Rabiot;Kolo Muani, Giroud, Mbappe.