France’s 3-1 win over Luxembourg was something of a dull affair, marred by an injury to Djibril Sidibé and containing a few moments of unnecessary nerves after the hosts had equalized through a penalty. Still, though, there was much to consider with an eye towards’ the team’s future, with Benjamin Mendy getting the start at left back and growing into the match impressively and Ousmane Dembélé wreaking havoc on the opposite flank. France’s best player, though, was probably the most experienced of the group, with Olivier Giroud, second in caps only to Hugo Lloris, netting a brace with two fine finishes.
Hugo Lloris – 5.5
Had little to do but could perhaps have done better with Luxembourg’s penalty, as he seemed to be caught in two minds before going the wrong way. Tuesday will provide a better measure of his quality, not that many doubts over it exist.
Djibril Sidibé – 6.5
Performed much as he does for Monaco, superb going forward, but at times questionable positionally in defence, as well as snatching at a few clearances. Going forward, his crossing was sometimes poor, but did well to earn a penalty and assist Giroud for the opening goal.
Laurent Koscielny – 6.5
Assured when called into action, superb positionally and quick to put in a vital block in the second half. Didn’t catch the eye as much as Umtiti but might have had the better match of the pair.
Samuel Umtiti – 6
Did well to cover the forays of Mendy, something that will be key if the Monaco man keeps his place in the side. Had several clever runs at set pieces, and perhaps should have opened the scoring from a free kick. Was offered little protection by the trio of Payet, Matuidi and Mendy,
Benjamin Mendy – 6.5
Looked nervous in the early going, and crossing was poor, but grew into the match and delivered a fine assist for Giroud to seal the result ten minutes from time. With more opportunity, he will grow in confidence, and can feel good about a debut free of consequences.
N’Golo Kanté – 6.5
Was his usual energetic self, doing well to cover for the fullbacks and Matuidi. Had a few decent passes as well, not something that is usually part of his style. His passing is not going to make anyone forget Paul Pogba, but it was encouraging to see.
Blaise Matuidi – 5
Foolishly conceded a penalty that leveled the match at 1-all, but there was more to a poor performance than that, as his energetic runs were key in creating space for the attack. Unlucky to see a goal-bound shot glance off the post after deflecting off Giroud.
Ousmane Dembélé – 7
Was France’s most dangerous player with the ball at his feet, continually drawing free kicks and running at Luxembourg’s massed defence. Did try to do too much at times, but can’t be blamed for that, owing to a lack of support from his teammates, also did well to track back for the runs of Sidibé.
Dimitri Payet – 5.5
His free kicks were a bit inconsistent, but he showed good positional sense to allow Mendy to overlap when the left back got forward. Better than expected after a middling start to his time at Marseille, but not enough to suggest that Thomas Lemar or Kylian Mbappé might not be better options.
Antoine Griezmann – 6
Put away a crucial penalty and played a sublime ball to release Sidibé, but not at his best, as he often found space hard to come by against Luxembourg’s deep-lying defence.
Olivier Giroud – 7
Readily silenced his doubters with a fine brace. Perhaps should have added to it after snatching at a few chances late on, but a superb match overall, doing well in pressing from the front in addition to his goals.