Ousmane Dembele is proving he is “on the right track” after the Barcelona winger scored in France’s 2-0 defeat of Kazakhstan. After drawing against Ukraine in their opening World Cup qualifier, the reigning world champions moved top of Group D in comfortable fashion on Sunday. Dembele opened the scoring with a goal laid on by Martial, before Kazakhstan defender Sergiy Maliy put through his own net.
It marked France’s seventh straight away win – their best run since January 1990 to October 1991. Dembele, who has enjoyed a resurgence at Barca this season following several injury-hit campaigns at Camp Nou, was replaced by Kingsley Coman in the 90th minute, having created one chance and had two shots, both of which hit the target.
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Martial teed up Dembele’s goal – the only key pass played by the Manchester United forward, who had three attempts (two on target) before going off with an apparent injury in the 59th minute.
His replacement was Kylian Mbappe, and the Paris Saint-Germain star went on to have as many attempts as Martial, though one of those was a penalty he saw saved by Alexandr Mokin.
Asked for his thoughts on the displays of Dembele and Martial, Deschamps told a news conference: “They did some interesting things.
“Ousmane confirmed that he is on the right track. He is capable of repeating efforts and of differing his play. He was rewarded with this goal.
“Anthony is behind the first goal. It’s good for both. From the moment I take them [in the squad] it is to use them. I have other attackers, but compared to the profile of the opponent, it was important to provoke and to dribble [at the opposition]. They did it pretty well.”
Deschamps also stressed he has few concerns over France’s somewhat laboured performances across their last two fixtures.
“Everyone is free to wait for what they want. The France team is efficient and continues to be,” he said.
“We do a lot of good things. There were no big scores [on Saturday] either. It is not easy for anyone. There is the opponent, the sequence of matches, plus everything that came before. These are not excuses. I told the players to do the job, to win. We won.
“There were nine new players from the match against Ukraine, but they already had experience. I’m not going to take away the credit. The qualifying games are always difficult, the main thing is to reach our goals.”