Football News assesses the individual performances for Les Bleus as they beat Serbia 2-1 in Bordeaux this evening.
Hugo Lloris – 7
France’s captain had more to do tonight than against Portugal, making several smart saves after dangerous Serbian crosses coming in from his right-hand side. There was nothing he could have done to prevent the Serbian goal.
Benoit Trémoulinas – 6.5
Show great attacking exigency and was unlucky not to get a couple of assists with Giroud failing to convert. Also showed a great willingness to scamper back in defence, but ran out of steam towards the end of the second half, allowing Tosic to dominate Mangala in the final quarter of an hour.
Eliaquim Mangala – 4.5
A poor match from the Manchester City man who has otherwise started this season so well. His positioning from Serbian goal-kicks was poor, allowing Mitrovic in behind all to easily. Was also flat-footed by Tosic during the latter stages of the second half. His positioning for Serbia’s goal was also disappointing.
Raphael Varane – 6
Gave the ball away a couple of times when there was no great pressure upon him, but made some crucial interventions at the back when others (Mangala and Schneiderlin) were out of position, including one crucial slide tackle in the second half which prevented a one-on-one situation. Quite clearly more comfortable alongside Laurent Koscielny.
Bacary Sagna – 5.5
In the first half, he failed to deal with persistent Tadic crosses which were the source of Serbia’s only goal of the evening. Showed a great willingness to bomb forward and his fantastic early cross supplied France with the opener through Matuidi. His interplay with Pogba was also fantastic, but defensively the former Arsenal has, during both matches during this international break, been shaky.
Morgan Schneiderlin – 6
Moments of brilliance were not outweighed by moments of loss of concentration by the Manchester United man this evening, even if it was nearly a dead heat between the two. While he is not yet able to naturally pull the strings from the back as Cabaye does moving forward, his impetus to move himself higher up the field unlocked many opportunities for France in the first half and gave Griezmann the space and freedom to roam and to perform sublimely. However, his second half was largely disappointing, being caught out of position too many times and putting the French back-four unfairly into trouble.
Blaise Matuidi – 8.5
What a match from the PSG midfielder yet again in a French shirt. Got both of France’s goals, the first showed his desire and physical dominance to force his way to a difficult cross to reach past Spajic. The second goal was technically extraterrestrial, hitting the ball on the full from outside of the area after an inadequate Spajic clearance. His ability to move between the lines was sorely missed in the second half for France. Not only was he the crucial goal-getter tonight, but he was France’s springboard in the creative aspect.
Paul Pogba – 7
Another effortless-looking performance from France’s much touted beacon of hope. He showed maturity and brute strength to defeat the Serbian volley of attempted fouls by thwarting them physically and not taking the bait. Continued to supply intelligent crosses for Giroud and then Benzema, but also moved the ball on incredibly quickly, which was essential for France’s first half blitz.
Mathieu Valbuena – 8
The Lyon man showed just how crucial he is to this France side in terms of carving out opportunities, having been the missing cog in the French attack against Portugal at the end of last week, during a performance where Les Bleus were frankly, largely listless. His fantastic close control and ease of movement were combined tonight by a combative desire in the aerial challenge which frankly embarrassed bewildered Serbian defenders.
Antoine Griezmann – 7
A tale of two halves for the Atleti man, showing scintillating class in the first half with sublime technical ability that included an outrageous back-pass to Olivier Giroud in the Serbian penalty area, giving him a great chance to score which he frankly should have converted. Also showed a great turn of pace and good crossing ability coming in from the right hand flank, a position that seems to really be suiting him with Les Bleus.
Olivier Giroud – 5
The Arsenal man gave France a consistent, unerring attacking outlet which actually created space in front of the Serbian defence. In this regard, Giroud was far more useful than Benzema had been against Portugal. However, the Frenchman must have had at least 10 half-chances over the course of the 60 minute period when he was on the pitch, and was guilty of snatching at the majority of them. His anger at himself never helps his performances ameliorate and it is clearly a time during which Giroud has some serious anxiety upfront.
Mathieu Debuchy – 6
Played a rather unassuming but noticeable role when he replaced Sagna at half-time who had picked up an injury. Tadic had less joy down France’s right-hand flank than he had in the first half and Debuchy showed a good willingness to push past the Serbian left-back in attack. Failed to provide any remarkable crosses or construction of play however.
Geoffrey Kondogbia – 7
Actually had a very good, if not understated game for Les Bleus tonight, even though his natural game seemingly tells him to sit deeper than the likes of a Matuidi. Showed good intelligence on the ball and an aggressiveness which dealt better with the type of threat that Matic was posing when compared with Schneiderlin. Also showcased a late piece of genius control which culminated in giving Debuchy a late chance to score.
Karim Benzema – 6
The Real Madrid striker offered less structure than Giroud up front and largely failed to make anything happen for France in the final third. He did however show some impressive awareness when defending against Serbian set-pieces, notably corners, and was the source of some gutsy counter-attacking play.
Anthony Martial – 6
Had a better performance than during his similarly brief cameo against Portugal and showed a good awareness of his teammates’ positions when pushing forward. Was also able to impress with a good change of pace, but also proved just how raw he remains as a talent, with several seemingly avoidable miss-controls.
Not on the pitch long enough to make a considerable impact.