Defending champions France opened their qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup with a 1-1 draw with Ukraine, while Bosnia and Herzegovina scored late 2-2 away to Finland in the other Group D match on Wednesday.
Barcelona striker Antoine Griezmann showed his return to form with the opening goal in the 19th minute. But central defender Presnel Kimpembe’s own goal gave Ukraine an equalizer in the 57th minute on an empty Stade de France.
Goalkeeper Jorge Bushan did well to prevent a close effort by Olivier Giroud early. But he was defeated when Griezmann twisted from a shot just to the right of the penalty area in the left corner.
With his 34th international goal, Griezmann moved to the level of David Trezeguet in fourth place in the list of points of France. Thierry Henry leads with 51.
Giroud has been struggling to get a game for Chelsea since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as coach. He looked a little rusty and headed for the break with a decent chance.
Ukraine equalized when Sergiy Sidorchuk’s shot cut off Kimpembe as he closed the midfielder and the ball was incorrectly scored by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris before rolling slowly over the line.
Paris Saint-Germain star Caylian Mbape, who scored 100 goals in the league last weekend, had a bad game for France and was replaced by Anthony Martial in the last 15 minutes.
In Helsinki, striker Teemu Puki scored twice, but Finland could not keep the victory.
Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic put the visitors ahead in the 55th minute. But Puki, who scored 22 goals in pursuit of Norwich’s promotion to England’s second tier, equalized three minutes later and put the Finns ahead in the 77th.
But neither team could control the game and winger Miroslav Stevanovic made it 2-2 with the remaining six minutes.
France travels to Kazakhstan, and Ukraine hosts Finland in Sunday’s matches.