France have not looked back since their penalty defeat to Argentina in the FIFA 2022 World Cup final in Qatar last December and racked up their fifth consecutive win since that heartbreak in Lusail. Republic of Ireland were brushed aside 2-0 by Les Bleus at Parc des Princes on Thursday with home stadium Stade de France gearing up for the 2023 Rugby World Cup on home soil.
A stunning strike from Real Madrid's Aurelien Tchoumeni and an instinctive finish from Inter's Marcus Thuram did the business for Didier Deschamps' men in Paris in the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifier. As a result, it was a fairly routine victory over a depleted Irish side and maintains a 100% winning record so far in Group B which also houses the Netherlands.
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Arguably most impressive in this post-World Cup and pre-Euro run has been a stingy defense which is yet to ship a single goal across the five games. That statistic looks ever more impressive when you also consider the post-Qatar international retirements of captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and vice-captain Raphael Varane.
Mike Maignan looked assured as ever against Ireland and very much the part as the new French starting shot-stopper behind Jules Kounde, Dayot Upamecano, Lucas Hernandez and Theo Hernandez. Eleven goals scored at an average of better than two per game is not a bad haul either and it makes the opening 4-0 win over the Netherlands look all the more impressive.
Gibraltar away only finished 3-0 so the Oranje hammering is France's biggest win of this qualification campaign to date against arguably their main rivals for top spot despite Greece's early form. With three games to go and a nine-point lead over the Dutch and the Greeks -- both have played fewer games -- means that French qualification looks likely although not yet assured.
Les Bleus currently look like an early force to be reckoned with in Germany next summer following on from an unexpectedly strong World Cup showing after many injuries. What makes that all the more surprising despite France's immense talent and strength in depth is the amount of experience that has come out of Deschamps' squad since Euro 2020.
Although not yet officially retired from international duty, Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante have ceased to be reliable options for Deschamps after years of loyal service. When added to Lloris and Varane leaving the stage too, it underlines how much this current crop has matured in just the three years since that delayed European Championship.
Familiar veteran faces Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud are still around and starting for the French but this is very much now the next generation led by captain Kylian Mbappe. The PSG man might not have scored on his club stomping ground this time but did tee up Tchouameni for his superb opener and had another goal of his own ruled out for offside.
Giroud went off injured in the first half and it seems only a matter of time before he too is usurped in the rotation with his replacement Thuram scoring the hosts' other goal. Yet France look as solid as they did in their Qatar run and capable of faring much better than their forgettable Euro 2020 episode which saw Mbappe briefly turn villain after his penalty miss vs. Switzerland.
It is too early to tell and obviously the remaining qualifiers against both the Netherlands and Greece will further help to gauge their development but Euro 2024 success has to be on Deschamps and his players' minds. Given their collective talent and the impressive level of experience across the board for what is now a largely younger generation, this has the potential to be another winning group.