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France keeps Davis Cup title hopes alive with doubles win over Croatia

France keeps Davis Cup title hopes alive with doubles win over Croatia

Lille (France), Nov 25: France cut Croatia’s lead to 2-1 in the final of the Davis Cup, tennis’ premier international team competition, with a four-set victory in doubles.

The French duo of Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert kept the tie going with their 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3) victory over the Croatian pair of Mate Pavic and Ivan Dodig in three hours and 38 minutes on Saturday evening.

The match was extremely close, with the French team winning 143 overall points to 139 for the Croatians. A slightly better conversion rate of break points – 3/11 (27 percent) to 2/9 (22 percent) – gave the host team the edge, reports Efe news.

Croatia had grabbed a 2-0 lead on Friday at Stade Pierre Mauroy, an indoor clay-court venue, when seventh-ranked Marin Cilic defeated Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in the second singles match.

Earlier that day, 12th-ranked Borna Coric kicked off the tie by defeating Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 7-5, 6-4.

France beat Uruguay 1-0 in friendly match
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France beat Uruguay 1-0 in friendly match

Paris, Nov 21: Uruguay deepened their crisis by suffering a fourth consecutive defeat in their friendly match against world champions France.

The Uruguay team, managed by Oscar Tavarez, was full of unusual players and they were struggling to find the brilliance they showed before the World Cup on Tuesday, reports Efe news.

The team had no recollection of past glories. Only Edinson Cavani, currently striker at Paris Saint-Germain, who played in his city, seemed overly-motivated, while the rest barely competed against a France team that was ending their most glorious year.

The party can’t go on forever, and France are beginning to feel the hangover of theirs. The stadium in Saint-Denis, outside Paris, had gaps in the stands where there is often no room for a pin. Deschamps’ team have lowered the pressure, as if at the end of their most outstanding year the champagne no longer had bubbles.

France had just lost against the Netherlands, their first defeat after the feast in Moscow, which eliminated them from the Nations League and that’s why France had to win.

The key moment came in the 51st minute when Griezmann struck a good shot which hit the hand of Caceres.

The penalty whistled by the referee allowed Giroud to achieve his 33rd goal wearing the shirt of France.

France continued to press, but with less conviction. The result was favourable and Uruguay missed their few chances.

Netherlands beat France to stay alive in Nations League
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Netherlands beat France to stay alive in Nations League

Rotterdam, Nov 17: The Netherlands defeated France 2-0 to stay in the battle for berths in the final stage of the UEFA Nations League.

After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the Dutch were expected to fare badly against the other two teams in League A Group 1, France and Germany, reports Efe.

But with Friday’s outcome, the Germans find themselves relegated and Les Bleus see their path to the Nations final stage complicated.

While the French lead the group with 7 points from four matches, followed by the Netherlands with 6 and Germany with 1, the Dutch have a game in hand and can claim the ticket to the final if they beat Die Mannschaft next Monday.

France, a mere shadow of the team that won the World Cup in July, succumbed in Rotterdam to a Dutch squad that are much improved under new coach Ronald Koeman.

The French began the match playing the style that made them world champions: solid defending with an eye toward scoring on set pieces and the counter-attack.

The hosts, however, were going for goal from the opening whistle, led by the Ajax attacking pair of Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt.

Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum threatened the French goal in the early going before Les Bleus won back possession, nearly taking the lead on a shot by Benjamin Pavard that went just over the cross-bar.

In the final minute of first-half regulation, a poor clearance by French defender Steven Nzonzi set up a chance from point-blank range for Ryan Babel. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made the initial stop, but was helpless to stop Wijnaldum from knocking in the rebound to put the Dutch up 1-0.

Conceding just before the break was a psychological blow to France and things got worse after the re-start, with the inspired hosts flying forward in pursuit of more goals and only the sure reflexes of Lloris prevented a rout.

The second goal came in the dying moments of stoppage time, as Depay converted a penalty after France’s Moussa Sissoko was called for a foul in the area.

Paul Pogba
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Pogba’s Image In France Doesn’t Reflect Who He Is – Deschamps

France manager Didier Deschamps feels his team’s vital midfielder Paul Pogba is misunderstood and is often the subject of criticism for unnecessary reasons.

Pogba is often criticised for his poor performances.

Life has turned out little bit difficult for the World Cup winner soon after he joined Manchester United from Juventus for whooping £89.3 million in 2016. And since then, he has been heavily criticised for his every poor performance.

However in the World Cup in Russia, Pogba played a major role for France in his side’s World Cup glory. And France manager has insisted that people still doesn’t understand the type of Pogba.

“The rest of the world, and certainly in France, has an image of Pogba that doesn’t really reflect who he is. There’s this idea that he’s a bit individualistic — that’s not the case. I’ve spoken to him about his relationship with the media and I think he’s been unfairly criticised in the past. That’s why there has been this aggressive vibe and he’s had this strained relationship.”

Paul Pogba Paul Scholes

The World Cup winning manager further added:

“But criticism is part of the job and I think you learn to take that on board as you get more experienced. That’s what’s happened with him and I think he’s gained some respect. He joined us ready to become a world champion and he took the whole squad with him.”

READ MORE – Paul Pogba

Meanwhile, Pogba reacted once again with a lighthearted tweet. And he suggests whatever he writes turns into a news.

“Some people make polemic even from “good morning” to create drama. Big Pogoodmorning everyone hope u get it twisted.”

Pogba is leading Manchester United this season. However, his side hasn’t started off well as they managed to win only 3 matches out of 6 and are at 7th in the table.

Belgium and France
France and Belgium are the joint-ranked top-sided teams on the latest FIFA rankings. Image Courtesy: Getty
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France-Belgium Become Joint Leaders in FIFA Rankings

France and Belgium have made history, as both the countries have become first-ever joint ranked leaders in FIFA rankings.

France and Belgium make history.

According to the latest published rankings, France and Belgium are levels on points, which is 1,729. Both teams had a FIFA World Cup in Russia to remember. France were the eventual winners after beating Croatia in the finals, while Belgium was amongst the semifinalists.

France
France beat Croatia in FIFA World Cup 2018 finale.

However, Belgium’s dream broke at the hands of France, as they defeated the Red Devils 1-0 in the semi-final in Russia. After the World Cup, France picked up a draw and win against Germany and Netherlands, respectively in the UEFA Nations League. While, Belgium have beaten Scotland 4-0 and Iceland, though it was a friendly.

Meanwhile, Brazil remains third on the rankings list. However, World Cup runners-up, Croatia are second and the only nation inside the top ten to make a move over the past month in the rankings is Denmark. They dropped one place from ninth. Semi-finalist England along with Uruguay, Switzerland, and Spain make up the rest of the top ten.

While Argentina, who had a disappointing run in the World Cup is ranked 11th. They are also still in a mess as their star player Lionel Messi has decided not to feature for the national team until further announcement. So far, Messi-less Argentina had played two matches after the World Cup where they beat Guatemala and drew with Colombia in the friendlies.

Germany, who got eliminated in the group stages moved up three places to 12th following their friendly victory over Peru. However, the next FIFA rankings will get published on 25th October.

Germany, Thomas Muller, Kylian Mbappe
France's forward Kylian Mbappe celebrates after scoring their four goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between France and Argentina at the Kazan Arena in Kazan on June 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADSFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
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Germany’s Thomas Muller Lavishes Praise on Kylian Mbappe

German forward Thomas Muller had some high appreciation to make for French youngster Kylian Mbappe after their match in the UEFA Nations League.

Recently, Muller and Mbappe featured in France-Germany’s clash at the UEFA Nations league.

Although, the match between Germany and France ended on 0-0, Mbappe made an impression where almost all the players of France failed to play well on Thursday. And the Bayern Munich forward noticed it all.

After the match, Muller told reporters:

“He has an engine in his butt that everyone else wants to have. He makes one fast step and leaves the opponent behind. You have to defend players like him with more than one player, even if he leaves one player behind the next one has to try to stop him. That’s the only way you can stop remarkable players like him. Of course, he had some moments during the game that the spectators enjoyed.”

Kylian Mbappe
PC: Getty Images.

After Germany’s embarrassing exit from the 2018 World Cup held in Russia, it was their first match since then. Losing 1-0 to Mexico, they came back well beating Sweden in the last minute of the game.

However, they suffered a shock defeat against South Korea in their last group game, and it ended their hopes of defending the World Cup.

And this was not the only thing they suffered. The 2014 World champions also had to see Mesut Ozil retire from the national team due to racism.

Despite going to the match with several problems, in the end, Thomas Muller believes Germany responded well.

“We had a lot of pressure before the game. But we responded in the way we had to. You have to make distinctions. It wasn’t our best game and we have a lot to pay back. That was the first key step, but that’s all,” he concluded.

Olivier Giroud, World Cup
Olivier Giroud talks about not having a single goal in the World Cup. Image Courtesy: Getty
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My Zero Goals Doesn’t Stop me from Sleeping – Oliver Giroud on Getting No World Cup Goals

A striker of a team and a World Cup winner, but with zero goals. This rare sight might happen only once, and the world has seen it in the World Cup in Russia. However, Oliver Giroud has defended himself in full voice despite failing to score a goal.

Oliver Giroud is a World Cup winner with zero goals under his belt.

After failing to score a single goal and also with zero shots on goal, Oliver Giroud got criticised heavily. While on the other side, his team-mates Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe scored four goals each.

But Giroud explained how he helped the team and what sacrifices he had to make to help his side to go for the glory. And the World Cup glory made him forget the disappointment of his performance. Giroud told Le Parisien,

“It necessarily results in a little frustration. But it has largely been filled by the title. The collective takes precedence over individuals. I often had to do a little bit of different work, make sacrifices to help the team hold the lead. In fact, you have less energy to be decisive in the last third. Except against Belgium in the second half, I do not have the memory of having missed many opportunities. I even produced two assists.”

Olivier Giroud, World Cup
Olivier Giroud talks about not having a single goal in the World Cup. Image Courtesy: Getty

 

The Chelsea player forward added,

“My zero goals does not stop me from sleeping. In the street people tell me: even if you have not scored, you have been important. We might not have been world champions if I scored. Statistics can be used for anything and everything. I was decisive in another way.”

Despite being 32 years old, Giroud has no plans to retire any time soon.

“A team-mate at Chelsea already asked me this question. As long as I feel good, can bring something to the team and the coach calls me, I am available. I am aware of being closer to the end than the beginning. So I enjoy every moment. I do not put myself any barrier; I do not set any limit.”

Germany held 0-0 by France in Nations League opener
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Germany held 0-0 by France in Nations League opener

Munich, Sep 7: Germany and World Cup winners France battled to a 0-0 draw here in the opening UEFA Nations League match for both teams.

Both teams were cautious in the early going in front of 67,000 spectators at Munich’s Allianz Arena on Thursday.

Les Bleus stuck with the defense-first approach that served them so well in Russia a few months ago, while the Germans were anxious to avoid the kind of blunders that led to their crashing out of the 2018 World Cup in the group stage, reports Efe news.

The first shot on goal came in the 16th minute, an effort by Germany’s Timo Werner from inside the box that French keeper Alphonse Areola handled with ease.

At the other end of the pitch, host keeper Manuel Neuer had to be sharp to stop Olivier Giroud’s header in the 34th minute.

The second half was livelier and French striker Antoine Griezmann created a pair of chances, testing Neuer with a shot from distance in the 64th minute before a German surge in the final 20 minutes that saw Areola make a succession of impressive saves against Marco Reus, Mats Hummels, and Thomas Müller.

Areola, who got the nod in Munich only because of injuries to starter Hugo Lloris and backup Steve Mandanda, was the man of the match.

Antoine Griezmann, UEFA
Antoine Griezmann says he is disappointed with the UEFA. Image Courtesy: Getty
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What I Have To Do More To Win The Award – Antoine Griezmann

World Cup winner with France, Antoine Griezmann feels he deserved to be in the top three of the FIFA Awards nominees and criticised the governing body for overlooking him.

Griezmann won the UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA World Cup this year.

Antoine Griezmann had a year to remember so far and the best in his career. The Atletico Madrid and France forward won UEFA Europa League, Super League and the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Achieving so much in a year, Griezmann felt shocked to see not his name in the top three.

However, he believes he has a realistic chance of winning the prestigious award one day. Griezmann told L’Equipe,

“Yes, I’m thinking about it, especially as I’m getting closer and closer to it. When I finished third in 2016, I had lost two finals. Now, I’ve won three. The Ballon d’Or is a prestigious award, and for a player, it’s the summit. There’s nothing better, nothing bigger. There can be trophies in your league, the World Cup, the Euros; it’s not the same. I would ask myself what I would have to do more. I have won three trophies, I’ve been important in decisive moments. But it’s not me who votes. Comparing with 2016, I have to be in the final three.”

Antoine Griezmann, FIFA Men's Player of the Year
Antoine Griezmann.

The Frenchman also felt ashamed not to see a France player getting nominated in the top three despite winning the World Cup.

“It’s bizarre, and a shame, it’s FIFA who award the trophy right?. And the World Cup is organised by FIFA, right? We won the World Cup, and there is no Frenchman at the end. It’s a choice, but it’s surprising there’s no world champion.”

However, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mohamed Salah and Luka Modric are nominated for FIFA The Best Men’s Player of the Year.

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Griezmann Deserves To Win Ballon d’Or – Lucas Hernandez

Lucas Hernandez feels his Atletico Madrid and France team-mate Antoine Griezmann deserve to win Ballon d’Or and he should have been in the nominees of the top 3.

Hernandez feels his team-mate should have been nominated.

Hernandez and Griezmann  won the UEFA Europa League and the FIFA World Cup  together this year, with both playing a major role. And after being denied a nomination in the top 3, Hernandez and Atletico Madrid are in full support of the France forward.

Griezmann once made it to the top 3 in 2016 along with Ronaldo and Messi. But in the end, it was Ronaldo who named as the winner. And Hernandez believes he should have been nominated this time around too.

The left back told France football:

“Antoine deserves it. He is my favourite. He has been a key man in all of the major competitions he has played in this year. He has won almost everything and contributed everywhere. Griez has been so consistent. He has been up at the top for two or three years.  He has taken another step since 2016 when he was in the final of the Euros and third in the Ballon d’Or vote with France Football.”

Antoine Griezmann

Meanwhile, Hernandez himself has made it to the top in the recent years. He is now an established performer for club and country. Despite living in Spain since the age of four, he decided to represent France. And in the end, it was everything worth it for the left-back.

However, he has revealed that he was preparing himself to represent Spain. But it all changed when France manager Didier Deschamps approached him.

“I couldn’t disappoint him. From the start, he picked me for my qualities as a defender, but he asked me to do different things, which meant taking risks in attack. Even Diego Simeone told me that he discovered new things about me during the World Cup.”

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