A late strike from Kylian Mbappe ensured France secured a 1-1 draw with the United States of America at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon on Saturday evening.
The PSG forward struck with a clever finish with just over 10 minutes on the clock to cancel out Julian Green’s shock first-half opener.
Early openings for France
As predicted, it was the hosts who had the first opportunity of the game as Manchester United man Paul Pogba struck the post. The midfielder had managed to wriggle free from a tight angle but was only able to find the woodwork.
Antoine Griezmann then did excellently to pick out Olivier Giroud only yards from goal but the Chelsea forward’s header was weak.
Didier Deschamps’ men also went close soon after as Blaise Matuidi attempted to find Giroud in the box but his low cross was cut-out by United States goalkeeper Zack Steffen. Excellent combination play between Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe saw the youngster trouble the American stopper yet again but a great save saw the ball tipped over the bar.
Les Bleus continue to spurn chances
Most supporters in Lyon were justifiably wondering how France were not ahead as chances continued to come and go. First, N’Golo Kanté fluffed his lines from inside the area, before Steffen did well to hold a low shot from Pogba that looked destined for the bottom corner.
Griezmann then did extremely well to manufacture space inside the USA penalty area and took aim for the far corner. His curling finish dropped just wide of the post, however.
Sidibe errors gifts USA the lead
Heading into half-time, Dave Sarachan’s troops shockingly claimed the advantage through Green, their first-ever goal against France. After Djibril Sidibé failed to deal with a cross, the ball fell to the on-loan Greuther Fürth forward. Spinning with an eye-catching turn, the 23-year-old then slammed the ball beyond Hugo Lloris.
He had the ball in the net once again just after the break only for the strike to be chalked-off for offside.
France fire back through Mbappe
Despite the USA’s opener, France continued to carve their way towards goal at ease. Matuidi wasted a great chance as he sliced his effort into the stands.
Mbappe also continued to be a thorn in the sides of the USA, and but for a great block from Cameron Carter-Vickers, could have equalised. The ex-Monaco man was also inches away from crashing a free kick beyond Steffen.
He was not to be denied, however. With just over ten minutes left on the clock, Benjamin Pavard, who had replaced Sidibé, produced a wicked low cross straight to the feet of Mbappe. The forward did not hesitate as he turned the ball home into the far corner to equalise for Deschamps’ men.
Late chances but France fail to claim victory
A few opportunities came and went for France in the closing stages as Thomas Lemar put an effort just wide to the anguish of the French supporters. Then, they also had the ball cleared off the line as the USA battled to a memorable draw. Ousmane Dembele latched onto a rebound from a Steffen save but somehow, the Americans clawed the ball away.
It would be fair to suggest that Les Bleus were simply not at their best against the USA. Despite creating a clutch of wonderful chances, their finishing left a lot to be desired. Despite that, they go to Russia in great form after being unbeaten in their warm-up games.
Meanwhile, the USA have t0 be praised for their battling spirit against their illustrious opponents. As a result, they deserved their draw.
France: Lloris (6); Sidibé (6) (Pavard (7), 74′), Varane (7), Umtiti (6), Mendy (7) (Hernandez (6), 66′); Kanté (7), Pogba (7), Matuidi (7) (Tolisso (6), 58′); Griezmann (6) (Fekir (6), 69′), Mbappe (7) (Lemar (N/A), 88′), Giroud (6) (Dembele (7), 58′).
USA: Steffen (7); Robinson (6) (Villafaña (N/A ), 82′) , Parker (7), Miazga (6) (Palmer-Brown (6), 60′), Carter-Vickers (7), Moore (7) (Yedlin (6), 74′); McKennie (7), Trapp (6), Adams (6); Green (7) (Corona (6), 70′), Wood (5) (Sargent (5), 74′).
Goals: Green (44′), Mbappe (78′)
Referee: William Collum
Yellow Cards: Moore (68′), McKennie (79′)
Red Cards: N/A
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