Anthony Martial was named as a starter for the second game in a row for France last night.
The selection followed up his goal against Ukraine at the weekend, Martial’s first international strike since 2016.
Martial started in a new look 3-4-1-2 formation up front with Karim Benzema, with Antoine Griezmann in support.
Griezmann bagged both goals to take his international tally to 41, level with Michel Platini.
Martial played 79 minutes in the 2-0 win, substituted late on by Wissam Ben Yedder.
The Manchester United striker was heavily involved, making 48 touches, benefitting from having a striker alongside him.
He completed 92 per cent of his passes and created two goalscoring chances.
How the French press reacted
Newspaper Le Figaro ran a ‘Tops and Flops’ reaction article to the match.
Unfortunately, Martial landed in the ‘Flops’ column.
The piece wrote: “Anthony Martial has necessarily suffered from the comparison with his partners Benzema and Griezmann. Even if he put in a lot of effort and his play helped a lot in the offensive combinations.
“Except that he also spoiled some good situations by haste or lack of technical accuracy. No longer a real club starter, he probably lacks that hint of confidence at the moment.”
L’Equipe on the other hand were more positive, describing, ‘Benzema-Griezmann-Martial, an inspired attacking trio against Finland.’
Ouest France also praised Martial’s link-up with Griezmann and Benzema, writing: “In small spaces, the duo blew the Finnish defence, with an Anthony Martial in tune.”
WhoScored.com rated Martial’s performance as a 6.47 out of 10. Griezmann was a 9.19 and Benzema 8.11.
Next up for Martial
Martial was effectively acting as a stand-in for Kylian Mbappe, who was out with an injury.
He scored a crucial goal to equalise against Ukraine and contributed as part of an effective front three in the win over Finland. France are now well placed to qualify.
Now Martial will return to Manchester United and attempt to force his way into the side. That won’t be easy at all, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani in front of him.
Martial will simply have to make the most of any opportunities he gets, and hopefully his spell with France will have done him a lot of confidence.
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