France coach Didier Deschamps offered a public apology after the wrong national anthem was played for opponents Albania before kick-off in Paris.
A mix-up saw the national anthem of Andorra played by mistake, resulting in a seven-minute delay as Albania would not start the match without the error being rectified.
“I apologised to the bench and the coach,” Deschamps told a press conference.
“It’s something that should not happen, but it happened. I understand the position of the Albanians and it is logical that we waited until the Albanians could have their anthem before that match.”
Once the Euro 2020 qualifier started, France eased to a 4-1 victory that keeps the world champions top of Group H on goal difference.
With Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba missing from the side, Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman took centre stage with two goals.
“When you have a Kingsley Coman in this form, it’s hard to stop him,” Deschamps said.
“It’s been a while since he’s been with us. He has always had his qualities but he is more decisive and effective.
“When he is like that, it’s hard for his opponents. It’s nice to see him on such a level.”
Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud and debutant Jonathan Ikone were the other scorers before goalkeeper Hugo Lloris conceded a late penalty which was converted by Sokol Cikalleshi.
Deschamps believes his side have improved from their last round of qualifiers and he is looking for them to further strengthen their position against minnows Andorra on Tuesday.
“There were a lot of very good things tonight. But we could have been more efficient,” he added.
“From the start of the second half we lacked the finish on some beautiful moves.
“We did the right thing, even though we relaxed at the end. It’s rare that we made a match with so many passes, I think over 900 – and not just easy passes.
“There is a lot of cohesion, something we did not have a few months back.”
His side may only be a year on from winning the World Cup but Deschamps is looking to the future and believes Ikone could play a significant part.
“That’s also my role. It’s about incorporating young people, looking to the future, and when there is quality they will have game time,” he said.
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Reigning European champions Portugal belatedly got their Euro 2020 qualifying bid back on track with an entertaining 4-2 win over Serbia in Belgrade.
Fernando Santos’ side sit second but are eight points behind Group B leaders Ukraine after two frustrating opening draws against the table toppers and Serbia in Lisbon last time out. The Ukraine have played two more games but the Euro 2016 champions were in need of a result to get their campaign off the ground, and they got it with a performance inspired by Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva.
He scored the fourth and laid on an 89th international goal for Cristiano Ronaldo from 159 caps, although having led 2-0 on the hour, Portugal were made to fight for the three points after the dogged hosts dug in and reduced the lead to 2-1 and then 3-2.
Portugal led when William Carvalho profited from a mix-up in the Serbia box to prod home. Goncalo Guedes fired in a brilliant second to seemingly make the game safe but Nikola Milenkovic was then left free to head in and make it 2-1. Ronaldo chipped in to make it 3-1 but Serbia came back again when Aleksandar Mitrovic thumped into the roof of Rui Patricio’s net.
Minutes later though, Silva struck a killer blow when he found the bottom corner to finally seal the win.
Rui Patricio 6: Fairly untested until the home side’s goal. Could have maybe done better for Mitrovic’s strike although it arrowed into the top corner.
Nelson Semedo 5: Barcelona full-back had a quiet game. Didn’t do much wrong but didn’t stand out in a positive way either. Failed to make impact going forward that Guerreiro did.
Ruben Dias 6: Put himself about and was generally commanding until Mitrovic came to life. Perhaps showed him too much of the goal for late strike but in truth did little wrong.
Jose Fonte 7: Thunderous challenge on Tadic then slid in to deny Mitrovic who was offside in any case. Now 35 but doesn’t look out of place on international stage.
Raphael Guerreiro 6: Solid outing down the left, diligent in defence but also making forays forward often. Teed up Silva for the crucial fourth goal.
Danilo 5: Patrolled the midfield looking to add his bite to a tetchy encounter. Struggled to keep tabs on a marauding Tadic though.
Bernardo Silva 9: Buzzed around with his usual energy and intent, had a role in side’s second goal before through ball found Ronaldo. After Serbia’s second he killed the game with an expertly executed low drive to make it 4-2.
Bruno Fernandes 7: Astute cross caused havoc in home defence as Portugal profited to go ahead. Worked well in tandem with Silva and surely can’t be long until a big club snaps him up from Sporting Lisbon.
William Carvalho 8: Lucky not to see yellow for a dangerous high boot early on. Then in right place to fire in when opportunity arose. Relished the physical battle with tough Serbia side.
Goncalo Guedes 7: Lashed a loose clearance well over. After the break made game comfortable with rifled finish after brilliantly tricking his way past Maksimovic.
Cristiano Ronaldo 7: Ordered to his feet after an early dive. Came to life in second half with a fizzing curler that whizzed just wide. Free-kick minutes later had same result. Intelligent run and sumptuous chip over Dmitrovic secured points, although he looked offside.
Joao Felix 6: Exciting Atletico Madrid starlet got 20 minutes but although he looked bright he made little impact. Sent a deflected late shot wide.
Joao Cancelo 6: Man City new boy replaced Semedo but had trouble keeping an improving Serbia from coming forward.
Joao Moutinho N/A: Brought on late to replace Fernandes and try and help Portugal see out the victory.
Harry Kane’s hat-trick helped blow away Bulgaria and continue England‘s European Championship qualification cakewalk.
Bulgaria are not the side they once were and the 1994 World Cup semi-finalists set up to frustrate England, only for needlessly overconfident play at the back to bring about Kane’s opener midway through the first half.
The England captain netted his second when Marcus Rashford was brought down in the box early in the second half, with the striker turning provider as Sterling bundled home minutes later.
Kane would end the day celebrating his second international hat-trick after scoring his second penalty of the day, adding gloss to another big win that England will look to build on against Kosovo in Southampton this Tuesday.
Here’s how the players rated:
Jordan Pickford: Was tested on four occasions and never looked like conceding, with his second-half save from Wanderson particularly impressive. 8
Kieran Trippier: Recalled to the side and making his first England appearance since October last year, Trippier got up and down the flank well. 6
Michael Keane: Earned a yellow card in the first half for a clumsy challenge, but rarely tested defensively. 6
Harry Maguire: Covered ground when he needed to and bullied Bulgaria’s attack in a commanding display. 7
Danny Rose: Rose has struggled for Spurs this season, but was a constant threat down the left. 7
Jordan Henderson: Worked hard and saw plenty of the ball, but not his most influential display for his country. 6
Declan Rice: Showed tenacity and steel in the middle of the park in a display which suggests he will be in this team for some time. 7
Ross Barkley: Made the Three Lions tick with a virtuoso performance and always looked to get on the ball. 8
Raheem Sterling: Made England’s first goal with his tireless pressing and added his seventh goal in seven international games. 8
Harry Kane: Took himself above Geoff Hurst on the list of England goalscorers to 25 with a hat-trick, two of them penalties, while also adding an assist. 9
Marcus Rashford: His pace frightened Bulgaria and his skill won England’s first penalty, while almost adding a late fifth. 7
Mason Mount (on for Henderson, 66): Given his international debut and bombed forward but made no real impact. 6
Jadon Sancho (on for Sterling, 71): Could not expose a tired Bulgaria defence despite some promising positions. 6
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (On for Kane, 77): Looked neat and tidy on his first England appearance since March 2018. 6