SAINT-DENIS, France: Antoine Griezmann scored a stunning goal but defending champions France only drew 1-1 at home to Ukraine just moments ago as Qatar’s 2022 World Cup Qualifier campaign began slowly.
Barcelona star Griezmann deflected the ball for the opening goal in the 19th minute before Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukrainian side equalized with Presnel Kimpembe’s own goal after an hour of play at the empty Stade de France.
It was a surprise result for the defending champions with only the group champions automatically qualifying for next year’s finals.
France will travel to Central Asia to face Kazakhstan on Sunday before stopping in Sarajevo for another match against Bosnia Herzegovina on Wednesday.
Les Bleus will also face Finland in the Group D five-team match and Teemu Pukki’s two goals saw Finland draw 2-2 with Bosnia in Helsinki in another match.
“We should have been able and should have been comfortable in the first half. We lost a bit of energy in the second half against a good team even though the goal was inevitable,” coach Didier Deschamps told TF1.
“Obviously we are disappointed. It’s the first step, we still have two games which is also not an easy thing.
“The qualifying round is a long journey and it’s not an easy voyage.”