Sloppy France equalizes late in 1-1 draw with US
Jun. 09, 2018
LYON, France (AP) — Kylian Mbappe struck a late equalizer as France drew with the United States 1-1 in its final World Cup warmup on Saturday.
The 19-year-old forward reacted swiftly from near the penalty spot in the 78th minute, turning in a cross from right back Benjamin Pavard after he was released down the right flank by forward Nabil Fekir.
France missed several first-half chances and was punished in the 44th when the U.S. scored with its first meaningful attack through forward Julian Green.
The goal came about thanks largely to a defensive blunder from right back Djibril Sidibe. He made a hash of a clearance and knocked the ball into the path of Green, who beat goalkeeper Hugo Lloris with a crisp shot inside the near post.
Lloris should have read the danger and was too easily beaten, especially considering he has 98 international caps. It is the latest in a string of sloppy errors from the France No. 1, who was careless for English Premier League side Tottenham several times this season.
"We were lacking a bit of sharpness, but we created enough chances to win against a young U.S. team," France coach Didier Deschamps said. "They didn't give us much space and defended well. We got back on top of things toward the end. Now we're thinking about our match against Australia."
Asked if he would pick the same side against the Socceroos next week in the Russian city of Kazan, Deschamps replied, "Not necessarily."
It could have been worse for Les Bleus in Lyon.
Moments into the second half, striker Bobby Wood had a goal disallowed for a narrow offside, much to the relief of France's defense.
France started brightly.
Midfielder Paul Pogba, hoping to start the World Cup match against Australia next Saturday, hit the post with a strike from 20 meters.
Moments later, he almost found striker Olivier Giroud with a deft pass with the outside of his foot. Giroud appeared to be held as he went for the ball, but no penalty was given.
After Mbappe and forward Antoine Griezmann tried their luck, Pogba had a 20-meter strike saved by goalkeeper Zack Steffen in the 33rd.
Giroud had a quiet game and was replaced by Ousmane Dembele with about an hour played after clashing heads going for a high ball. Giroud had treatment for a few minutes and his head was bandaged.
With seconds remaining in injury time, Steffen made a smart double save to deny Fekir and Dembele.