We could have beaten Moldova by more: Deschamps

Antoine Griezmann opening the scoring in the 24th minute for France against Moldova on Friday. Three minutes later, he crossed for Raphael Varane to double the advantage.
Antoine Griezmann opening the scoring in the 24th minute for France against Moldova on Friday. Three minutes later, he crossed for Raphael Varane to double the advantage.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

CHISINAU • France coach Didier Deschamps believes that his world champions could have inflicted a heavier defeat on Moldova, despite a convincing 4-1 victory to kick off their opening Euro 2020 qualifying campaign on Friday.

Antoine Griezmann scored one and set up another as World Cup winners France easily beat Moldova in Chisinau in the Group H match.

The Atletico Madrid attacker opened the scoring in the 24th minute before crossing for Raphael Varane to double the advantage three minutes later.

Olivier Giroud then equalled David Trezeguet as Les Bleus' third-highest scorer of all time with his 34th international goal nine minutes before the break.

Kylian Mbappe completed the rout with three minutes left, before Vladimir Ambros claimed a late consolation for Moldova.

"We could have scored more," said Deschamps. "But these matches are still complicated.

"My players handled the game the right way. We did not fall into any trap.

"The goal conceded does not take anything from our good game. It was a potentially tricky match but we did what we had to.

"We did not give Moldova time to organise and to get back, and we have to keep it that way."

Left-back Layvin Kurzawa was the only member of the starting line-up without a World Cup medal.

Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman pulled out during the warm-up with a muscle issue and was replaced by Blaise Matuidi.

"We've opened our campaign well and the second game comes around quickly," Deschamps added ahead of facing Iceland at the Stade de France tomorrow. "In three days we have do it again."

Meanwhile, European champions Portugal were held to a 0-0 draw in Lisbon by Ukraine in their opening qualifier as talisman Cristiano Ronaldo returned for the first time since the World Cup.

Ukraine's veteran goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov kept Portugal at bay with several fine saves in the first hour, before the hosts ran out of ideas in the Group B game.

"The team had some good moments and some difficult moments," said Portugal coach Fernando Santos, whose side have a tough match at home to Serbia tomorrow.

"We failed to take three or four chances in the first half.

"Now we have to unwind and think about Serbia.

"It's a bit of a blow to our morale but the players will get over it."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 24, 2019, with the headline 'We could have beaten Moldova by more: Deschamps'. Print Edition | Subscribe