France frustrated as Luxembourg holds on for 0-0 draw
TOULOUSE, France (AP) Antoine Griezmann missed a straightforward early chance as France had more than 30 shots on goal but failed to score in a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to a resilient Luxembourg on Sunday.
Veteran goalkeeper Jonathan Joubert kept Les Bleus at bay, as the visitors frustrated a France side that now only leads Sweden by one point in Group A with two games remaining.
France has 17 points, with Sweden on 16 and the Netherlands on 13 after beating Bulgaria 3-1 at home.
France routed the Netherlands 4-0 on Thursday, but it was a hugely frustrating night for coach Didier Deschamps’ side this time. Luxembourg almost stole victory when substitute Gerson Rodrigues hit the post with a fine solo run and shot 12 minutes from time.
But France should have scored early on, when forward Klylian Mbappe pulled the ball back and Griezmann blazed over from near the penalty spot when unmarked.
A Toulouse crowd hoping for a glut of goals ended up hoping for just one that never came.
After Mbappe, striker Oliver Giroud and full back Djibril Sidibe went close as Luxembourg continued frustrating France for the first half.
Midfielder Paul Pogba saw his shot from outside the penalty area palmed away by Joubert in the 37th, and Joubert tipped Griezmann’s free kick onto the crossbar moments later.
”We had clear chances but against a compact team like that you have to keep pushing,” France coach Didier Deschamps said.
The 37-year-old Joubert, making his 86th appearance, then made a superb low stop to keep out Sidibe’s close-range header in the 68th.
Luck was with the visitors as Pogba hit the crossbar with a looping header in the 77th.