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France produced a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Sweden in Friday’s World Cup qualifier at the Stade de France but know they need to work on taking the initiative in matches.
Emil Forsberg put the visitors ahead nine minutes into the second half, only for Paul Pogba to level four minutes later before Dimitri Payet netted the winner in the 65th.
“We came back into the game after they opened the scoring but we were reacting, it’s a bit of a pity. We react while we actually need to act,” midfielder Pogba told reporters.
France forward Antoine Griezmann, and coach Didier Deschamps felt Sweden’s defensive approach did not help as the home side found themselves having to work hard to find solutions.
“They’re a good team, playing in a solid 4-4-2. They sat back and were looking to hit us on the break,” said Griezmann, who almost got a late third with a shot that whizzed just wide.
“All the teams we face think about defending against us,” said Deschamps. “I wasn’t expecting an easy game anyway, it was a team who were joint top with us before kickoff. However we grabbed three points and that’s what matters tonight.”
The result meant France opened a three-point gap at the top of Group A with 10 points from four games after inflicting a first defeat of the campaign on second-placed Sweden.
France, who face Ivory Coast in a friendly in Lens on Tuesday, visit Luxembourg in their next group match on March 25 when Sweden host Belarus.
The Netherlands are third on four points with a game in hand which they will play on Sunday away to Luxembourg.