Kylian Mbappe scored with France’s only shot on goal on Saturday in Solna to give the world champions a 1-0 victory over Sweden in the opening round of matches in the Nations League.
Mbappe picked up the ball wide of the goal in the 41st minute, squeezed past two defenders, waited for goalkeeper Robin Olsen to go down, and then clipped the ball just inside the post from the narrowest of angles.
The strike was enough to give France victory in a cagey opener in Group 3 of the elite League A in the competition.
“It was a committed match, not a great match,” said France manager Didier Deschamps. “It was a good back-to-school game, considering the fitness levels.”
Mbappe agreed that fitness, after the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, explained the lackluster game.
“We are not all at the same level,” Mbappe said.
Sweden managed just three strikes on target in the 90 minutes, though one of those was a deflection off French defender Dayot Upamecano, making his international debut, that Hugo Lloris saved.
Antoine Griezmann had a chance to double the French lead with the last kick of the game after Anthony Martial was fouled in the box, but the Barcelona attacker blasted the penalty high.
“It was a complicated match,” said Mbappe. “We competed well, it wasn’t easy.”
Deschamps has adopted a new system with two strikers.
“It’s clear that I’m closer to the goal,” said Mbappe. “I like that.”
Captain Lloris also focused on the formation and a lack of fitness.
“In the second half, we lost intensity, I found the Swedes very good physically,” said the goalie, adding that the team was still learning the new system.
Source: The Guardian.