Didier Deschamps was not surprised by Mike Maignan’s great save in France’s 1-0 victory over Ireland, which he described as “deserving of a goal”.
AC Milan goalkeeper Meignan saved France’s Euro 2024 qualifier victory with a sensational late shot, somehow deflecting a header from Nathan Collins.
The save followed his missed penalty in France’s 4-0 victory over the Netherlands in their first Group B match, with Meignan quickly justifying his promotion to France’s top spot between posts following the departure of Hugo Lloris from the national side.
After seeing his team score six points in two games, Deschamps couldn’t help but smile as he reflected on their excellent start, including Maignan’s shot-stopping prowess.
“Lots of positives: six points, five goals and no conceded goals,” Deschamps said in quotes published by L’Equipe.
“The calendar didn’t give us gifts with the Netherlands and Ireland. Today we were less radiant than on Friday. We had fewer opportunities, but we have to win these matches.
“The team showed a very good attitude and character. Mike’s stop. It’s worth a goal. We were able to respond by being less brilliant than in the first game. Ireland defended well. I am happy and proud of this group against two such opponents. It is very good that we have already scored these six points.”
Regarding the Meignan save, he added: “This is an exceptional stop. But I’m not surprised. I know what he is capable of. Hugo was also capable of such stops in his own way. Mike has all the qualities, wingspan and intelligence. He is the leader.
5 – France have won their last five qualifying games for a major tournament (World Cup + EURO) without conceding a single goal each time. Lock. #IRLFRA pic.twitter.com/cK6VxjG09l
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) March 27, 2023
“There was already a stopped penalty against the Netherlands. But this stop is even more expensive. I had no doubts and uncertainty about the succession. When Mike is in full possession of his funds, he is at a very high level.”
Before Meignan’s save, Benjamin Pavard scored a goal that proved to be decisive with a sharp shot from outside the penalty area that hit the crossbar.
Pavard’s goal marked his first appearance for France since their first 2022 World Cup match against Australia.
“He had a very difficult match at the start of the World Cup,” Deschamps said of Pavard.
“In previous years, he was in the starting lineup. He played the first game and Jules [Kounde] took his place.
“After that goal, I told him that I was very happy for him. Despite his personal disappointment, he always maintained a state of mind.
“He enjoyed his playing time at his club. It’s very good for him and especially for the band.”