France's draw against Luxembourg was stunning for many reasons
UEFA's World Cup qualifying Group A is turning into a mind-bender. How about a little rewind?
So Sweden, who were leading the group, contrived to lose 3-2 to Bulgaria, who then got thumped by the Dutch, 3-1, who in turn were beaten up 4-0 by France who, on Sunday night, wandered down the rabbit hole and were held to a scoreless draw by Luxembourg, a team they last failed to beat 103 years ago.
Yes, Luxembourg, who are ranked 48th of 54 nations in UEFA. It's a really big deal.
Before you get a little too carried away, consider the fact that France had 34 shots on goal and the entire Grand Duchy seemed to line up inside the six-yard box. It wasn't necessarily pretty unless sieges are your thing. On the other hand, when you're a nation of less than 600,000 people taking on an opponent 100 times as large, what else are you supposed to do?
Truth be told -- and it may be a cliche -- it felt as if Les Bleus wholly underestimated the opposition, especially in the first 45 minutes. They looked disjointed and a little too loose, as if it was a training ground exercise and they knew they were going to score at some point anyway.
It shouldn't have been like that. Luxembourg are still Luxembourg, but they're also a nation that had won a game in each of their last three World Cup qualifying campaigns. They scored against France in the reverse fixture, only lost 1-0 to Sweden and put three past Bulgaria.
Yes, it's a low-scoring game and if France scored in the first half, Luxembourg would then chase the game and maybe this ends 6-0 instead. But that's the nature of football and Sunday's result will go down in Luxembourg lore.
As for France, it should -- and will -- be forgotten. Unless, of course, it ends up costing them first place, they end up in the playoffs and something horrible happens. Like this.
Click here for more of Marcotti's thoughts on what happened over the previous week.