European U21 Championship qualifying: France 2-0 Scotland

Liam Henderson steers away from France's Benjamin Pavard
Liam Henderson steers away from France's Benjamin Pavard

Scotland's hopes of qualifying for the European Under-21 Championship suffered a blow as Sebastien Haller scored twice to give France victory.

Goalkeeper Jack Hamilton was beaten by Utrecht's Haller in the 69th minute and again five minutes later in Angers.

France sit top of Group Three on 13 points from six games, one point ahead of Iceland, with Macedonia third and Scotland fourth on five points.

Ricky Sbragia's Scots have a game in hand over the leading pair.

Scotland looked on course to take a valuable point after Hearts keeper Hamilton had made several excellent saves, including one to keep out Adrien Rabiot's header in the first half.

The French, however, boasted a handful of emerging talents, with the likes of Rabiot, Aymeric Laporte and Ousmane Dembele all in action and reportedly attracting the attention of Europe's top clubs.

Hamilton's Hearts team-mate Jordan McGhee hacked a Maxwel Cornet effort off the line to keep the match goalless, but the Scottish resistance finally caved as full-back Jean-Philippe Gbamin broke down the right and pulled the ball back to Haller, who spun and quickly shot home.

The striker doubled his tally, tapping home after Hamilton had parried Rabiot's long-range effort.

With hopes fading of qualifying, Scotland's attention now turns to a crunch match at home to Northern Ireland on Tuesday.

The nine group winners qualify automatically for next summer's 12-team finals in Poland. The four runners-up with the best record against the nations first, third, fourth and fifth in their sections advance to the two-legged play-offs.

France U21: Didillon, Conte (Gbamin 46), Dembele, Haller, Kimpembe, Laporte (Lenglet 59), Pavard, Rabiot, Tolisso, Walter, Cornet (Lemar 89). Subs Not Used: Nardi, Bakayoko, Nkoudou, Jean.

Booked: Walter.

Scotland U21: Hamilton, Gauld, Henderson (Christie 78), King, Kingsley, Love, McGhee, Nicholson (McKay 70), Slater, Souttar, Cummings (McBurnie 83). Subs Not Used: Henly, Hendrie, Findlay, Polworth.

Booked: Gauld.

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