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FIFA World Cup 2022

Pogba Returns As France Clinch First WC Qualifying Win

2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Result: Kazakhstan 0-2 France

Date: 28 March 2021

Venue: Astana Arena

Reigning world champions France clinched their first victory in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers after defeating Kazakhstan 2-0 in Group D on Sunday afternoon.

Les Bleus manager Didier Deschamps made wholesale changes from the side that was held to a draw by Ukraine, with only shot-stopper Hugo Lloris and Antoine Griezmann retaining their places in the line-up.

Kazakhstan were surprisingly pressing France high up the pitch and they were punished in the 19th minute after Ousmane Dembele drilled a low shot across into the bottom corner after a through ball by Anthony Martial.

The visitors gained control of the contest and they should have doubled their lead two minutes before the break after a chipped cross towards Martial near an open goal was heroically cleared by Sergiy Maliy with a high boot over the bar.

However, Maliy undid his heroics from the resultant corner, as he guided Griezmann's delivery into his own net in front of Paul Pogba inside the box and the world champions went to the break with a two-goal cushion.

France were putting Kazakhstan under pressure coming from the break and Dembele came close to making it 3-0 in the 69th minute with a header at the near post that was brilliantly parried away by shot-stopper Alexandr Mokin towards the top corner.

Second-half substitute Kylian Mbappe had a big chance to finally get the third goal for Les Bleus with a penalty in the last quarter of an hour after he was brought down inside the box but his strike towards the bottom corner was saved by Mokin.

France kept on applying the pressure and Mokin denied Mbappe again in stoppage time from a shot across goal inside the box and Les Bleus settled for a 2-0 win that saw them go up to the top of Group D with four points.

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