World champions France slump to 2-0 home defeat to Finland

Finland midfielder Marcus Forss  celebrates after scoring the opening goal at the Stade de France on Wednesday.
Finland midfielder Marcus Forss celebrates after scoring the opening goal at the Stade de France on Wednesday. © Franck Fife, AFP

France geared up for their upcoming Nations League games with a shock 2-0 home defeat against Finland as their 12-match unbeaten streak came to an abrupt end on Wednesday.

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Marcus Forss and Onni Valakari scored in the first half to give Finland their first win against Les Bleus, having lost all their previous eight encounters going into the game at the Stade de France.

World champions France dominated possession and had the first clear chance when Marcus Thuram's header crashed onto the crossbar, but Didier Deschamps' side, without the injured Kylian Mbappe, lacked inspiration throughout.

Les Bleus, whose last defeat was in June 2019 when they lost 2-0 away to Turkey in a Euro 2020 qualifier, face Portugal away on Saturday and Sweden at home on Tuesday in League A, Group 3 of the Nations League.

Thuram, the son of Lilian Thuram, could have made a scoring debut at Stade de France — where his father netted the only two goals of his long international career in the World Cup semifinal against Croatia in 1998.

Two minutes after hitting the crossbar, the Borussia Moenchengladbach forward volleyed over another good opportunity from close range and tried his luck with a speculative curling shot a few minutes later.

With Thuram probing down the left and combining well with striker Wissam Ben Yedder, the French looked in total control only to concede twice in quick succession.

Forss put the visitors ahead against the run of play, beating keeper Steve Mandanda from close range with Finland's first attempt of the game in the 28th minute.

Valakari doubled the tally three minutes later with a superb 20-metre curled shot.

Deschamps replaced Olivier Giroud with Anthony Martial in the 57th minute and the hugely disappointing Paul Pogba with Ngolo Kante, but the changes had little effect.

Finland have now won four of their last five matches. 

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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