France 4-2 Sweden: Visitors relegated by Les Bleus comeback

Olivier Giroud's double helped France come from behind to condemn Sweden to relegation.

Highlights: France 4-2 Sweden
Highlights: France 4-2 Sweden

Table-toppers France completed a come-from-behind victory to send Sweden down to League B.

France vs Sweden: as it happened, reaction

Match in brief

Viktor Claesson stunned the already-confirmed Group A3 table toppers with a deflected close-range strike with just four minutes on the clock. However, Olivier Giroud's crisp finish restored parity after good work by Marcus Thuram on the left flank.

Thuram played his part as Benjamin Pavard made it 2-1 with a swerving right-footed volley before the break, and France increased their lead just before the hour mark when Giroud bagged his second with a powerful diving header from Kylian Mbappé's pinpoint cross.

Robin Quaison gave Sweden a glimmer of hope before Kingsley Coman broke away to confirm the hosts' win with the last kick of the game.

Benjamin Pavard celebrates his goal with Moussa Sissoko
Benjamin Pavard celebrates his goal with Moussa Sissoko AFP via Getty Images

David Crossan, France reporter

Regular France watchers know you should never write off Giroud. He scored two good goals and should probably have netted a hat-trick. Les Bleus' reaction to falling behind was flawless as they bossed the rest of the game and Didier Deschamps will be pleased. The world champions look most at home in this 4-4-2 system.

Sujay Dutt, Sweden reporter

Over 90 minutes it was a fair result but hard on Sweden's positive finish. Claesson got time and space to put them ahead after five minutes but, while the French added three of their own, the visitors rarely threatened again until substitute Quaison's close-range finish. However, Sweden's gamble to bring goalkeeper Robin Olsen up for a possible equaliser back-fired.

Reaction

Olivier Giroud, France forward: "This international window has been positive and we won this last game. Even if not everything was perfect, there were grounds for satisfaction. I'm used to people knocking me down a bit, that's part of my career and gives me even more strength."

Kingsley Coman breaks away to seal France's win
Kingsley Coman breaks away to seal France's winIcon Sport via Getty Images

Didier Deschamps, France coach: "With the rest of the coaching staff, I maybe have a few more answers even if the situation might not be the same come March. Young players have come in and shown their level and quality, and that's important, and the more experienced players are still there. I have different options and top-level players."

Emil Forsberg, Sweden midfielder: "We started very well but after that we became passive. In the end, I don't think it's a good match on our part. We gave it a go, but you could see that a lot of us were tired. The Croatia match was draining. We played a fantastic team. Now we drop out of League A. That's not a nice feeling, but we'll look ahead to next year."

Key stats

  • This was France's biggest win against Sweden since 1989. Their six previous victories in this fixture prior to today had all been by a one-goal margin.
  • France are unbeaten in their last 13 competitive internationals – winning 11 of those.
  • Pavard netted his second international goal – and first since his spectacular strike against Argentina at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
  • Giroud has now scored ten goals in his last 11 France home appearances.
  • Sweden are now winless in their last nine games away to France since 1952.

Lineups

France: Lloris; Pavard, Varane (Zouma 46), Kimpembe, Hernández (Digne 46); Sissoko, Pogba, Rabiot (Nzonzi 78), Thuram (Mbappé 57); Giroud (Coman 84), Griezmann

Sweden: Olsen; Lustig (Krafth 67), Lindelöf (Helander 66), Danielson, Bengtsson; S. Larsson (Cajuste 87), Olsson, Claesson (Quaison 66), Forsberg; Kulusevski, Berg (Isak 86)

What's next?

The UEFA Nations League final tournament takes place from 6–10 October 2021. Teams will return to competitive action in spring 2021 in the European Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.