PARIS – Defending champions France opened their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign with a 1-1 draw against Ukraine, while Bosnia and Herzegovina scored late to draw 2-2 at the ‘away against Finland in the other Group D game.
Barcelona striker Antoine Griezmann showed his return to form with the opening goal in the 19th minute. But an own goal from central defender Presnel Kimpembe gave Ukraine a tie at 57th in an empty Stade de France.
Goalkeeper Heorhiy Bushchan did well to prevent a close effort from Olivier Giroud from the start. But he was beaten when Griezmann threw a shot just inside the right side of the penalty area in the left corner.
With his 34th international goal, Griezmann joined David Trezeguet in fourth place on France’s scorers list. Thierry Henry leads with 51.
Giroud has struggled to secure a game for Chelsea since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as manager. He looked a little rusty and headed for the break with a decent chance.
Ukraine equalized when Sergii Sydorchuk’s shot cut Kimpembe as he was about to close off the midfield, and the ball went badly to goalkeeper Hugo Lloris before slowly rolling down the line.
Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, who reached 100 league goals last weekend, had a bad game for France and was replaced by Anthony Martial for the final 15 minutes.
In Helsinki, striker Teemu Pukki scored twice but Finland could not hold the victory.
Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic put the visitors in the lead in the 55th. But Pukki, who scored 22 goals for Norwich seeking promotion to second in England, equalized three minutes later and put the Finns in the lead in 77th.
But neither team could control the game and winger Miroslav Stevanovic made it 2-2 six minutes from time.
France travels to Kazakhstan and Ukraine hosts Finland in Sunday’s matches.
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