10 - 06
By Guillaume Mahot
Qualifications for World Cup 2018 in Russia are now putting an end to the football season all over Europe, one week after the Champions’ League final Juventus Turin-Real Madrid, that witnessed the second consecutive crown for the Spaniards, a huge victory against an Italian contender (4-1) that was overwhelmed in the second half, a second European trophy for Zinedine Zidane within two years on Real’s bench as a coach and a third coronation for Madrid over the last four years (2014, 2016, 2017). But I wanted to tell you about the qualifiers, particularly about what happened last night.
Indeed, France is now threatened by Sweden after a surprising but not undeserved victory acquired by the host country in Stockholm yesterday evening, 2-1 with a last goal from Toulouse Football Club striker Ola Toivonen (by the way, both Swedish goals were scored by players from French club TFC with a first goal by Durmaz, but this is more anecdotic than really important, although I wanted to highlight it), which put both teams on equal standards (13 points each) before four games remaining to play. Let us remember that the team ranking first is directly qualified for the next world cup.
While the draw, not exceptional as a result but that could have revealed to be satisfying since Sweden would have been kept far behind, was to be the final result, an ultimate mistake from French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris gave Toivonen the possibility to score from the middle of the pitch, an unpredictable and marvelous goal that enabled Sweden to win a boring game, underlined by two extraordinary realizations from Toivonen and Olivier Giroud still.
Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and Kylian Mbappé when he came in were powerless as a team and individually to change things, but things should have been changed before for France. Barely ten seconds after Toivonen’s goal, the referee was blowing the final whistle.
It is far from being dramatic for France, but it gives more suspense in a group that seemed to have chosen who would be ranking first so far.