DUBLIN, March 28: France defender Benjamin Pavard made a spectacular comeback to the team as his superb second-half strike saw them beat Ireland 1-0 away in Euro 2024 qualifying Group B on Monday.
Pavard, cast aside at last year’s World Cup after a woeful opening game, struck from 18 metres to put France on six points from two games after Friday’s 4-0 drubbing of the Netherlands.
France goalkeeper Mike Maignan, who took over as number one after Hugo Lloris’s international retirement, denied the hosts an equaliser with a stunning save in the last minute, three days after stopping a penalty at the Stade de France.
France lead the group ahead of second-placed Greece, who have three points having only played once, with the Dutch third on goal difference after beating Gibraltar 3-0 at home.
Ireland are in fourth place after one game.
Poland’s Karol Swiderski secures 1-0 win over Albania in Euro qualifiers
Poland striker Karol Swiderski secured a 1-0 win over Albania in their Euro 2024 qualifiers clash on Monday. With this win, Poland have earned their first Group E points of the Euro 2024 qualifiers.
Poland, who suffered a 3-1 defeat by Czech Republic in their opening game on Friday, sealed the victory in the 41st minute through Swiderski who curled a low shot into the net on the rebound after Jakub Kaminski hit the post following a free kick.
Robert Lewandowski, well marked by the Albania defence, had a chance to double the lead in the 63rd when he broke free and fired from close range but his shot was cleared off the line.
The Poland striker had another opportunity in the 84th but his strike flew narrowly over the bar from distance.
Albania winger Myrto Uzuni sent chills down the spine of the home crowd when he came close to levelling two minutes from time, firing a shot just wide of the left post.
“In our minds there is only qualifying, so this victory today was our task to complete and luckily we did it because we took a step forward,” Swiderski told Polish broadcaster TVP Sport.
“In the first half we played some nice football (and) in the second half there were also nice moments. It’s a pity that towards the end it got nervous, but fortunately we won.”
In the other Group E match, Czech Republic drew 0-0 away to Moldova to remain top of the standings by a point from Poland.
(Reuters/ToI With inputs from Reuters)