On Tuesday, Antoine Griezmann’s double handed France a 2-0 win against Finland in their 2022 World Cup qualifier, ending a five-game losing streak for the World Cup holders.
With his brace, the 30-year-old Atletico Madrid striker drew level with Michel Platini on 41 goals for his nation, ten behind Thierry Henry and five behind Olivier Giroud.
Griezmann told TF1, “I am really satisfied with my performance and incredibly thrilled to have equaled Michel Platini.”
“We were strong this evening because we really needed this win after five draws, and we did it in a good way.”
Victory will help to put to rest the lingering memories of France’s heartbreaking penalty shootout loss to Switzerland in the last 16 of Euro 2020 this summer.
The three points extended France’s lead at the top of the table to seven points over Finland, who still have two games to play.
“We didn’t execute everything perfectly, but we regained our confidence,” France coach Didier Deschamps said.
“This puts our fate in our hands, and we have till November to do the job.”
In the first ten minutes, France heaped on the pressure and forced a pair of corners, while newcomer Theo Hernandez came near with a shot from beyond the box.
The French were dangerously inconsistent in the early stages, despite having plenty of attacking intent — Karim Benzema and Anthony Martial up front, with Griezmann nestled in behind them.
In the 14th minute, Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba stunned Deschamps by firing a pass from the halfway line haphazardly over the Finnish byline with no French player anywhere near it.
Whenever the Finns attacked in the first half, the French defense sought for sixes and sevens.
In the 22nd minute, Benzema forced the first save of the game, his ferocious shot being pushed over for a corner by Finnish goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky following a nice 1-2 with Griezmann, who returned to Atletico on loan from Barcelona during the summer transfer window.
Three minutes later, Benzema turned provider with a beautiful backheel that found Griezmann inside the area.