France Survives Irish Test as Pavard’s Stunning Strike Settles Closely Contested Encounter.

France emerged victorious in a closely contested encounter between two international heavyweights with a 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The match, Ireland’s opening game of the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, saw Benjamin Pavard’s stunning strike prove the difference between the two sides.

Despite the loss, there were plenty of chances for Stephen Kenny’s men, who showed tremendous heart and resilience throughout the game.

Ireland started the game brightly, putting pressure on the French defence and winning several corners without finding the proper delivery. On the other hand, France struggled to find their rhythm in the opening period and could not create any clear-cut chances. The closest they came was through Antoine Griezmann, who headed wide of the near post.

The game’s pivotal moment came five minutes after the restart when Pavard, making his first start in nine games for France, picked up a poor pass from Josh Cullen, took a touch and smashed in a stunning goal off the crossbar. It was a cruel blow for Ireland, who had matched France until then and was unlucky to be trailing. Despite going behind, Ireland refused to give up and continued to press forward in search of an equalizer.

They came close in the game’s final moments when Nathan Collins’ powerful header was saved brilliantly by AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan, who produced a stunning stop to deny the hosts. It was a bitter end to the game for Ireland, who deserved at least a point for their efforts. But there were plenty of positives to take from the performance, not least the way they matched one of the best teams in the world and restricted them to just one shot on target.

For France, it was a hard-fought victory that showcased their resilience and ability to win games even when they were not at their best. Despite being held by Ukraine in their opening game, they bounced back in style against Ireland and showed why they are among the favourites to win the Euro 2024 tournament.

The win also highlighted the strength in depth of the French squad, with Pavard, who had been dropped by manager Didier Deschamps after their first game in the World Cup last year, coming in and making a decisive contribution. It showed that Deschamps has a wealth of talent and can call upon any number of players to make an impact.

For Ireland, the challenge is to build on their performance and push for qualification for the Euro 2024 tournament. They face Greece and Gibraltar in their next double-header in June and will be looking to take maximum points from those games.

Manager Stephen Kenny will be pleased with how his side performed against France and will take heart from the fact that they could match one of the best teams. He will also be encouraged by the performance of his younger players, who showed maturity beyond their years and were not overawed by the occasion.

It was a game that showcased the best of international football, with two teams battling it out for 90 minutes in front of a capacity crowd. France emerged victorious, but Ireland can hold their heads high knowing that they gave it their all and came up just short against one of the best teams in the world. As the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign continues, there will be more twists and turns to come, and both France and Ireland will be looking to build on their performances and push for a place in the tournament.

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