September 04, 2017

Three late goals from England in Malta on Friday night somewhat masked the potentially embarrassing fallout of struggling to beat one of the continent's minnows. But France weren't so fortunate on Sunday when Luxembourg held on for a momentous 0-0 draw in Toulouse.

The Luxembourg players celebrated their 0-0 score-line like a victory, and so they should.

The country is ranked 136th in the world by FIFA and the are only six lower ranked teams in the whole of Europe. France, while not at their peak 1998-2000 vintage, are widely considered to be one of the most talented sides in the world and rank among the top 10 ahead of Spain and Italy.

The mismatch in the two teams is no clearer than considering the transfer values of each starting XI.

France: Lloris, Sidibe, Koscielny, Umtiti, Kurzawa, Kante, Pogba, Lemar, Mbappe, Giroud, Griezmann

Luxembourg: Joubert, Jans, Philipps, Malget, Janisch, O.Thill, Skenderovic, Martins, da Mota, V.Thill, Turpel

Sporting Intelligence's Nick Harris has calculated that France's team cost various club sides a shade over £400m to assemble. Much of that comes from Paul Pogba's move to Manchester United last summer and Kylian Mbappe's arranged move to PSG next year after an initial loan.

It is also worth noting that Thomas Lemar had the chance to join Arsenal for a fee rising to £92m on transfer deadline day last week, while Antoine Griezmann is widely expected to leave Atletico Madrid for around £85m at the end of the 2017/18 season.

Luxembourg's team, on the other hand, totals barely £27,000. Any number of the France group could personally buy that whole XI multiple times over in any given week given the money they earn playing for some of Europe's biggest clubs.

Metz in the lower reaches of Ligue 1 is the most glamorous clubs side represented among the Luxembourg squad, with many of the players plying their trade at home.

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REMY GABALDA/GettyImages

And not only was France's result embarrassing, it put a minor dent in their automatic qualification hopes for next summer's World Cup after opening the door top for Sweden.

France sit a point clear at the top of Group A and now face a potentially tricky away trip to Bulgaria in their next game in October, facing a side with a 100% win record at home so far. Sweden, meanwhile, meet Luxembourg and will be expected to win.

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FRANCK FIFE/GettyImages

It could mean that Sweden actually lead the way heading into the final round of fixtures, occupying the only automatic qualifying berth, with France maybe having to settle for a playoff place in order to book their ticket to Russia.

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