Jonathan Joubert – Luxembourg veteran who frustrated France’s £400m stars in unexpected international return

Jonathan_Joubert_(1)The goalkeeper whose performance of a lifetime ensured France suffered a historic humiliation on Sunday is, at least by birth, one of their own.

Joubert was born in Metz and began his career in the northern club’s reserve side in the 1997/98 season.

He moved to Luxembourg in 1999, but still counts himself as a “big supporter of the French team.”

The 6ft 3in keeper won a league and cup double in Luxembourg with CS Grevenmacher in the 2002/03 season and enjoyed even more success when he moved to his current club, F91 Dudelange, in the summer of 2004.

There he won the league 10 times and earned a call up to Luxembourg’s national team for a friendly match against Portugal in 2006, which was held in his home town of Metz.

He conceded a respectable 3 goals (including one from a penalty) against a Portuguese side containing both Figo and a baby faced Ronaldo.

He kept his first international clean sheet on his third appearance – helping Luxembourg hold Georgia to a 0-0 draw in a August 2007 friendly.

Two months later, another clean sheet contributed to a remarkable 1-0 away win against Belarus in qualifying for Euro 2008.

Over the past 11 years, Joubert has kept 11 clean sheets in 80 internationals and laid the foundations for Luxembourg to achieve some unlikely results.

The best of them undoubtedly coming on Sunday against France, in which he dealt with nine shots or headers on target and ten corners.

Mbappé had the strength and speed to see off three defenders on a brilliant run from the half-way line in the Luxembourg box – but couldn’t beat Joubert.

Griezmann saw his rocket of a free kick tipped onto the bar.

And as France piled men forward in the second-half, the 37-year-old goalkeeper showed his reflexes are still sharp to get down to a Sidibe header.

France coach Didier Deschamps described his performance as “heroic” and sports newspaper L’Equipe rated his performance an 8 out of 10.

Perhaps the most surprisingly element of his story is that the amateur goalkeeper, who balances training with work at a sports centre in Luxembourg, was not expecting to be in the squad.

The veteran was dropped as Luxembourg’s number one the beginning of the campaign to make way for a new generation of goalkeepers and he refused to sit on the bench.

Before this international break, his last match for Luxembourg came in a 4-3 defeat to Bulgaria in 2016.

Injuries to the national team’s two new goalkeepers presented him with a chance to prove he was still the country’s best between the sticks.

And perhaps it was this motivation that brought that age-defying performance from him on Sunday – not to mention his clean sheet last Thursday when Luxembourg beat Belarus 1-0.

Joubert told France Football that he will make himself available for final games of the campaign next month.

But he added: “Then, at one point, you have to say stop. Even if, deep down, I would like to continue.

“I don’t think the coach will count on me for the next campaign.”

If France does prove to be Joubert’s international swan song, it was one hell of a way to go out.

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