Antoine Griezmann scored the only goal as a below-par France edged past Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 in their World Cup qualifying clash on Wednesday. 

The 2018 winners followed up their opening Group D draw against Ukraine with a routine win over Kazakhstan on Sunday, but back-to-back wins did not look likely during a dismal first half from Didier Deschamps' side. 

They perked up in the second period, though, and sealed all three points when Griezmann headed home his 35th international goal in the 60th minute. 

The result means Les Bleus are top of Group D on seven points, four points clear of second-placed Ukraine.

Hugo Lloris, whose 123rd appearance moved him level with Thierry Henry as France's second-most capped player, was twice called into action shortly before the half-hour mark. 

First, he pawed away Darko Todorovic's fierce strike from distance before superbly tipping away Anel Ahmedhodzic's close-range header from a corner. 

Kylian Mbappe and Griezmann cut isolated figures in attack for France in the opening 45 minutes, with Deschamps side going in at the break having had just a single shot on target. 

They improved after the interval and went ahead on the hour mark, Griezmann steering a superb header from Adrien Rabiot's cross into Ibrahim Sehic's top-right corner.

The hosts rarely looked like salvaging a point in the closing stages as France comfortably held on to take command of the group.

 

 

Kylian Mbappe cannot be satisfied with his performances in France's opening two World Cup 2022 qualifiers, according to head coach Didier Deschamps.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward played 77 minutes of the 1-1 draw with Ukraine and just over half an hour in the 2-0 victory over Kazakhstan without finding the net.

He attempted seven shots across those two Group D fixtures, finding the target from three of them, including a penalty that was saved by Alexandr Mokin at Astana Arena on Sunday.

Mbappe's goalscoring record with Monaco and PSG has not quite been matched at international level, having managed 16 goals in 41 appearances for Les Blues.

But despite acknowledging that there is room for improvement from Mbappe, Deschamps does not believe the 22-year-old is low on confidence.

"He cannot be satisfied with what he has done so far," Deschamps said ahead of Wednesday's trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

"He was not very leggy in the first game. He was much better off against Kazakhstan and had chances. Of course he wants to score more goals and create them."

Asked if the penalty miss against Kazakhstan has affected Mbappe, Deschamps said: "No, I don't feel it has. It happens to everyone. 

"I know Kylian well. He can, over a match or a period of time, have a spell of efficiency that is a little less good than usual."

Deschamps is spoiled for choice in terms of options across the field, not least in attack where Ousmane Dembele and Kingsley Coman are battling for a starting spot.

Coman started the disappointing draw with Ukraine but was left out against Kazakhstan in favour of Dembele, who made the most of his chance with the opening goal.

"They are players somewhat in the same profile – yet they are not the same," Deschamps said. "They are both dribblers capable of taking opponents out of the game.

"Ousmane can speed past opponents and go fast without the ball. Kingsley can play both sides, even if he has a preference, just like Ousmane."

One player France will have to make do without against Bosnia-Herzegovina is defensive midfielder N'Golo Kante, who has returned to Chelsea with a hamstring injury.

"We know his importance," Deschamps said of Kante's absence. "When he is available, of course I prefer to have him in the team, and that is the same for his team-mates.

"He is an importance player for us, but he is not available on Wednesday and I have lots of other players." 

Mbappe is another fitness doubt for France after hobbling off against Kazakhstan, but Deschamps is not ruling the Manchester United forward out of the Bosnia match.

"Anthony has a little problem with his knee, but we cannot make a decision on his inclusion today," Deschamps said. 

"He is not at his best and will not participate in the training session tonight, but we will take stock tomorrow."

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