France 1-1 USA: Les Bleus draw in lacklustre performance
Antoine Griezmann looks dejected during France's poor display against the USA. (Photo by Anthony Dibon/Icon Sport)

France 1-1 USA: Les Bleus draw in lacklustre performance

France hosted an entertaining 1-1 draw against a youthful USA side at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon on the eve of the World Cup finals in Russia.

kingsburyewan
Ewan Kingsbury
FRANCELLORIS, SIDIBE (PAVARD 74'), VARANE, UMTITI, MENDY (HERNANDEZ 66'), KANTE, POGBA, MATUIDI (TOLISSO 58'), GRIEZMANN (FEKIR 69'), GIROUD (DEMBELE 58'), MBAPPE (LEMAR 88').
USASTEFFEN, MOORE (YEDLIN 74'), CARTER-VICKERS, MIZAGA (PALMER-BROWN 60'), PARKER, ROBINSON (VILLAFANA 82'), ADAMS, TRAPP, MCKENNIE, GREEN (CORONA 70'), WOOD (SARGENT 74').
SCOREJULIAN GREEN 44' (0-1) KYLIAN MBAPPE 78' (1-1)
REFEREEWILLIAM COLLUM (SCO). BOOKED: MOORE 68', MCKENNIE 79'.
INCIDENTSWorld Cup warm-up international friendly between France and the United States at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon in front of a capacity 59,000 crowd.

France, who triumphed over Italy in Nice last Friday, laboured to a 1-1 draw against an inexperienced USA side who took the lead completely against the run of play and defended resolutely throughout. 

The USA, who have been without a manager since the resignation of former head coach Bruce Arena last October, fielded an experimental team including captain Will Trapp, who claimed the armband for the fourth time in only his sixth cap. 

Taking temporary charge of the USMNT was Dave Sarachan, who set out to give USA's youngsters a platform to express themselves for the upcoming Gold Cup campaigns. Sarachan has recently thrown his hat in the ring for the job on a permanent basis, telling US media he thinks it would be 'smart' for the USMNT to keep him in the role.

France, who enter this summer's tournament as one of the favourites, fielded perhaps the world's strongest centre-back pairing in Real Madrid's Raphael Varane and Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti as Didier Deschamps looks to claim France's second World Cup title. 

France frustrated despite dominance

Les Bleus, as expected, dominated early proceedings and it was Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba who went closest on 5 minutes when the US relinquished possession 25 yards out, allowing the ex-Juventus man to crash against the post with a trademark drive.

France continued to probe the USA, lifting crosses into the talismanic Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, who couldn't quite find a clinical touch to break the deadlock. Antoine Griezmann also went close on 21 minutes when he burst through the United States' rearguard, but his shot was deflected wide by Matt Mizaga

Benjamin Mendy, sidelined for most of the season with a cruciate ligament injury, drove in behind the USA backline to deliver a tantalising cross once more towards Giroud, but Cameron Carter-Vickers did well to make a vital block, preventing the Chelsea forward from scoring. 

Griezmann, who scored twice in the Europa League Final in his last visit to Lyon's Groupama Stadium, received an incisive pass from Mendy before taking a left-footed swipe at goal which clipped the right-hand post.

The USMNT took a shock lead on the stroke of half-time, with Greuther Fürth loanee Julian Green capitalising on sloppy defending by Sidibe and beating Hugo Lloris far too easily at his near post with a low drive, scoring the USA's first ever goal against France.

 

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Youthful USMNT hold firm

France suffered yet another early scare almost from kick-off with the US bursting out of the blocks and probing for more weaknesses. Shaquell Moore delivered a wonderful cross to the feet of Hamburger SV striker Bobby Wood, who applied the finish brilliantly - but was caught just offside.

Proceedings came to a temporary halt on 56 minutes when Mizaga and Giroud had a nasty clash of heads leading to their substitution. Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele entered the fray in Giroud's place, changing the French attacking dynamic, with Kylian Mbappe moving centrally.

Nabil Fekir replaced Griezmann with just over 20 minutes remaining, on the same day his proposed move to Liverpool fell through. Julian Green was also withdrawn for 22-cap Joe Corona, who plays in Mexico with Club America.  

Fekir was then involved in France's overdue equaliser when he found another substitute in Benjamin Pavard, who slotted a low cross into Mbappe, who tucked home excellently. Fekir almost gave France the lead swiftly after the goal, but his 30-yard free-kick was saved well by USA 'keeper Zack Steffen

Fekir let fly again from long range with seconds remaining in the second half, but Steffen was equal to it and the tame rebound from Dembele, which trickled wide.

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