Antoine Griezmann put the world champions in the lead in the first half with a brilliant strike, only for defender Presnel Kimpembe who handed the visitors a point with an own goal after the break.
– UEFA World Cup qualifiers on ESPN +: live streams of matches and reruns (US only)
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN + (US only)
The result left Didier Deschamps’ side and Ukraine on par with Finland and Bosnia in Group D after a 2-2 draw in the other game.
Blues the next one will face Kazakhstan and Bosnia away on Sunday and Wednesday.
“Of course, I cannot be satisfied. We had chances to increase our advantage and we didn’t take them, ”said Deschamps.
“But let’s be honest after the break, we didn’t really threaten them. ”
France dominated possession and they took the lead in the 19th minute as Griezmann whipped up a delicious shot into the top corner furthest from the edge of the box.
This allowed Griezmann to place fourth along with David Trezeguet in the list of all-time top scorers in France with 34 goals. Thierry Henry is in the lead with 51.
Olivier Giroud almost doubled the advantage, but his header from Benjamin Pavard’s center went just over the crossbar in the 32nd minute.
Ukraine fired back, however, when Sergiy Sydorchuk’s harmless attempt was sent back into its own goal by Kimpembe in the 12th minute of the second half.
Deschamps made two substitutions, sending Paul Pogba and Ousmane Dembele for Giroud and Kingsley Coman and promised more changes for his tired squad ahead of Sunday’s game against Kazakhstan.
“With more freshness and a little momentum we could do a lot better, but a lot of my players had played in their domestic leagues on Sunday,” Deschamps said.
Pogba brought steel to the midfield, but Andriy Shevchenko’s side were happy to sit down and wait.
Kylian Mbappe, who produced an unforgettable performance on the attacking left flank, was replaced by Anthony Martial, who had no impact.
Griezmann had a chance to give France a victory on the last gap, but his completed attempt was called off by Heorhiy Bushchan eight minutes from time.
Kimpembe had the opportunity to catch his own goal in the last minute, but directed the ball straight into Bushchan’s arms.