After suffering a devastating last-second loss to Sweden last Friday in a 2018 World Cup qualifying match, France needed to bounce back and play hard to earn the win in this friendly match against England. With France now being second in their World Cup qualifying group, tied with 13 points with Sweden, winning this friendly is the first step to recovering and preparing for the next qualifying match, which will be August 31 against the Netherlands in Paris.
In the ninth minute, England’s Harry Kane, slipped through a French defender and with an assist from Ryan Bertrand, drilled the ball into the net, giving the English an early 1-0 lead over the hosts. 13 minutes later, France’s Samuel Umtiti scored a goal from six yards, tying the game 1-1, as well as scoring his first International goal. It was a fantastic play, as France’s Olivier Giroud’s header was deflected by the English goalie and Umtiti was at the perfect place at the perfect time to drill the ball into the English net.
21 minutes later, France’s Ousmane Dembélé shot was deflected by the English goalkeeper, only for Djibril Sidibé to kick the ball into the net, giving Les Bleus a 2-1 lead going into the half. This was also Sidibé’s first International goal.
Two minutes into the second half, France fell into a bit of a predicament. French defender Raphael Varane fouled England’s Dele Alli by tripping him in the penalty box. As a result, Varane was shown a red card and sent off, resulting in France being put in an eleven on ten situation for the remainder of the game, as well as England receiving a penalty kick, which was successfully converted by Harry Kane, tying the game 2-2.
For the next 21 minutes, both sides ran all over the field stealing the ball from each other, playing well on defense, and basically frustrating each other. In 78th minute, Dembélé, with an assist from Kylian Mbappé kicked the ball straight past the English goalkeeper, giving Les Bleus a 3-2 lead, which would end up being the decider.
France’s attack was dominant however they came up short several times, having eight shots on goal, converting only three of them. 18-year-old Kylian Mbappé made his very first International start. Several times he was in position of scoring his first International goal, but he came up short each time. However, the important thing is in his first start, he gained experience and he knows where and what to improve on.
Give England credit, though. The English defense showed resilience and their well-organized defense caused a bit of frustration for the young and talented French Attack system.
With their next match taking place August 31 against the Netherlands being a little less than three months away, it’s time for Les Bleus to begin training and getting ready. Yes, their shocking loss to Sweden is a hard pill to swallow, but if they can concentrate and be ready for their match against the Dutch, then they’ll win the game and be okay. Even better, they may climb back up to first place. Their match against the Netherlands will be difficult and perhaps stressful for the fans, but if France is prepared, they’ll be okay.