Against a French team theoretically weakened after an unexpected defeat in Sweden, Southgate’s men were exposed versus a french side confident in their shape and style; France’s eleven were quick, a constant threat from behind, despite the referee’s decision to sent off Raphaël Varane (48th), after the video assistant referee’s hardly helped giving a red card when there was no suggestion of serious foul play and Dele Alli was nor held or pushed.
Deschamps named a new line up with only Paul Pogba and Hugo Lloris(despite last’s week error who led to 2-1 Sweden) retained from the last game to start at the Stade de France. The French coach’s youthful team showed great promises with Paul Pogba as the Playmaster; he was magnificent, winning the ball, excellent distribution, particularly a couple of perfect balls over England’s defense for Kylian Mbappé who may have wasted some chances to score(crossbar), but his positioning, movement and confidence was a clear demonstration on why he’s currently the hottest property in football . Ousmane Démbélé, another french golden boy should have scored after Mbappé had exposed Phil Jones’ shortcomings, but it was just a matter of time: Démbélé scored after Mbappé collected the ball past Cahill’s shoulder thus alerting Stones who came to the rescue but it was too late! Démbelé had the time and the space to finish past second’s half goalkeeper, Butland. (78th)
England meanwhile presented the same back three trialled versus Germany and Lithuania with John Stones in the center; Tom Heaton started in goal for his third cap. Nevertheless, England’s bright spots were few and very far between: Harry Kane’s brace versus his club’s captain, Dele Alli’s clever penalty, Manchester City’s Sterling best chances, the promising début of another Spurs product Kieran Trippier, weren’t good enough to hide the central defense misgivings, out played by the French. Under pressure, nobody seemed capable of holding their position on the pitch.
Suprising enough, it was Southgate’s side who got a flying start; captain Kane put them ahead after only nine minutes, but alas it didn’t last. The english boss must find and find quickly why his side are not able to keep a result. France equalizer came from a set-piece after the English conceded a soft foul on the edge of the area(Umtiti ). Twenty minutes later Sidibé put the French in front.
In the second half, England got a breath of fresh air, after Delle’s clever penalty? Varane’s expulsion and Kane’s goal from the spot. This should give England the chance to finish 11 to 10 and therefore win the game or at least keep the draw. French boss Deschamps took off Olivier Giroud and thickened his back line with Arsenal’s Laurent Konscielny; being one man short, France looked shaky at first, but they soon found their way and the hosts’ ten man team produced great football creating many chances in quick succession. Pogba was easily MOTM and his crones, Mbappé, Démbélé, Lemar and cie were a pleasure to watch. As for the English team, Southgate must hurry and find how to create a competitive team for Russia; the clock it’s ticking but for how long ?
This game was more than a friendly before the Summer break; France gave back what England did after the bombings and killings (November 13th, 2015) in Paris and at the Stade de France. The French will never forget how England stood by them at Wembley. It was France’s turn to stand by the English people , especially Manchester’s and London terrorism victims. Oasis song was sang by every english spoken person as the GB’s national anthem and the minute of silence was perfectly respected; let’s hope that there will be no more heartbreak…
Here’s the players ratings :
FRANCE : Hugo Lloris (GK) 6,5 /10 Djibril Sidibé 7/10 Raphaël Varane 5/10 Samuel Umititi 6,5/10 Benjamin Mendy (injured) Ousmane Démbélé 8,5/10 Paul Pogba MOTM 9/10 N’Golo Kanté 8/10 Thomas Lemar 6,5/10 Kylian Mbappé 8/10 Olivier Giroud 6/10
ENGLAND : Thomas Heaton (GK) 6/10 Jack Butland (GK) 7/10 Phil Jones 6/10 Jonh Stones 4,5/10 Gary Cahill 5/10 Kieran Trippier 7/10 Ryan Bertrand 7/10 Dele Alli 6,5/10 Eric Dier 5/10 Raheem Sterling 5,5/10 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 3,5/10 Harry Kane 7/10
Game’s highlights :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGj0CKnJxfg