France Held to 1-1 Home Draw by Turkey in Euro 2020 Qualifier

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistOctober 14, 2019

Turkey's goalkeeper Mert Gunok (R) clears the ball past Turkey's defender Merih Demiral (L) and France's forward Antoine Griezmann (2ndL) during the Euro 2020 Group H qualification football match between France and Turkey at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, outside Paris on October 14, 2019. (Photo by Alain JOCARD / AFP) (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images)
ALAIN JOCARD/Getty Images

France failed to secure automatic qualification for UEFA Euro 2020 after they were held 1-1 by Group H opponents Turkey at the Stade de France on Monday.  

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud came off the bench to score his 38th international goal late in the second half, but Turkey had a substitute of their own equalise through defender Kaan Ayhan.

This result means third-place Iceland remain in with a chance of displacing the top two after their 2-0 victory over Andorra.

The two teams came into the fixture level on points at the top of the pool, though Turkey held the advantage in the head-to-head record after winning 2-0 in the reverse fixture in June.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe remains unavailable and is still regaining fitness after injury, but Les Bleus looked like they were yearning for his extra touch of pace during the first half.

Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda started in place of injured Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who will miss the remainder of 2019 after dislocating his elbow in a 3-0 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion.

Antoine Griezmann drew a superb save out of goalkeeper Fehmi Gunok in the 17th minute when he latched onto the ball at the end of a slick one-touch phase of play down the left. Moussa Sissoko followed up at the rebound with defenders in the goalmouth, but Gunok recovered to pull off another fine stop.

The opening half-hour was an exhibition from the French attack, who tested Gunok on multiple occasions and looked the more likely team to get the breakthrough.

Turkey committed the error of allowing Griezmann space bursting onto his favoured left from the right, curling an almost-perfect attempt around the upright of the guests' goal.

Football writer Jeremy Smith summarised a frustrating first half for the hosts:

Meanwhile, sportswriter Emre Sarigul painted a bleak landscape for the visitors:

Lucas Hernandez, who started at left-back despite Bayern Munich's concerns over his fitness, picked up the first yellow card of the game for a cynical foul after the restart. Turkey's Hakan Calhanoglu, who was brought on for midfield anchor Okay Yokuslu at the break, almost created the game's first goal with a sumptuous ball into the box soon after.

Despite France's domination over the shot count, striker Wissam Ben Yedder struggled to get any sights at goal, with Griezmann continuing to find the better pockets of space.

Burak Yilmaz came close to striking against the run of play after linking with Calhanoglu, but the Turkey captain blazed a rare, open opportunity just over Mandanda's bar.

Giroud was introduced in the 72nd minute, shortly before he rose highest to meet a Griezmann corner and give France what they will have considered a deserved lead, per Squawka:

Calhanoglu looked like one of Turkey's main creative threats since his introduction, and it was his free-kick to the back post that set up Ayhan for a dramatic leveller in the 81st minute.

Fortuna Dusseldorf defender Ayhan has scored three times during qualifying and embarrassed Mandanda at his near post in a goal that could have a big impact in Group H.

Didier Deschamps' side will bemoan the result since it means Turkey retain the advantage in their head-to-head record, taking it out of their hands as to whether they top Group H.

That being said, Les Bleus are still four points ahead of Iceland and know three more points would be enough to guarantee a top-two finish.

      

What's Next?

The Euro 2020 qualifying campaign won't resume in Group H until November 14, when France will host bottom team Moldova while Turkey will host Iceland.

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