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2018 World Cup Qualifying - UEFA, Group Stage
  • Paul Pogba (57')
  • Dimitri Payet (65')
  • Emil Forsberg (54')

Paul Pogba and Dimitri Payet steer France to win over Sweden

France moved three points clear of Sweden at the top of Group A as they came from behind to beat them 2-1 thanks to goals from Paul Pogba and Dimitri Payet.

Sweden took the lead at the Stade de France 10 minutes into the second half thanks to Emil Forsberg's free-kick.

But his effort was cancelled out three minutes later as Pogba headed home a cross from Payet, who then seized on a fumble from Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen to hit the winner in the 65th minute.

The two teams had gone into this contest locked at the top of the group with identical records from three games, but France are now outright leaders on 10 points from four matches.

There was an emotional atmosphere around the ground just before kickoff as a silence was held for the victims of the Paris terror attacks of Nov. 13 last year.

Omce the game got under way, Pogba sent an early shot wide and Olsen dived to punch away a Payet cross that was heading for Olivier Giroud.

John Guidetti was then unable to make the most of an opportunity that came his way at the other end, getting a boot to Ludwig Augustinsson's cross right in front of goal but failing to control the ball and allowing Raphael Varane to clear.

France pressed again as Payet tried his luck with a couple of efforts, one of which brought a fairly comfortable save from Olsen, and then teed up Pogba, whose strike curled just over.

The hosts were then grateful to Laurent Koscielny as he made a fine block, getting in the way of Ola Toivonen's shot.

Antoine Griezmann tried to steer a header in from Djibril Sidibe's cross just before the break but saw the ball go the wrong side of the post.

France's frustration grew after the interval as Griezmann and Giroud fluffed headed attempts and Payet hit a free kick too high before Forsberg put Sweden in front with a dead ball effort of his own, Hugo Lloris taking a step the wrong way as it flew over the wall, past him and in.

That prompted an impressive response from Didier Deschamps' men, who equalised when Pogba converted from Payet's free kick.

Olsen then survived letting a Varane shot squirm from his grasp and dealt with a low Griezmann shot before making the error that allowed France to score again.

Pressured by Griezmann, Olsen tried to claim a cross but failed to hold it and the loose ball was tucked home by Payet.

Jimmy Durmaz tried to level moments later but saw Lloris grab a shot that was heading off target anyway.

Griezmann drilled just wide late on, before Sweden passed up a decent chance as substitute Isaac Kiese Thelin missed a shot while closely marked by Koscielny.