France 3-0 Wales: France secure a comfortable victory over a vulnerable Wales
NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 02: Neco Williams of Wales is shown a Red Card by Match Referee Luis Godinho during the international friendly match between France and Wales at Allianz Riviera on June 02, 2021 in Nice, France. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Reigning World Champions France took advantage of 10-men Wales, winning 3-0 at home at the Allianz Riviera.

After Neco Williams was sent over inside the first half-hour, the already tough task became almost impossible for Robert Page and his side. 

Karim Benzema could not grab a goal on his return but goals from Kylian Mbappe, Antione Griezman and Ousmane Dembele secured the win for the hosts in this friendly.

  • Story of the game

It was an early start for both keepers with chances at either end within the first five minutes. 

A remarkable save from Danny Ward kept out an almost certain goal from Paul Pogba's header on 25 minutes, before Williams cleared the ball. The France players appealed for handball from the Liverpool youngster and after a lengthy VAR check, a penalty was awarded. The referee added insult to injury after he sent Williams off for the incident.

The returning Benzema stepped up but couldn't convert after Ward made another superb save to keep the spot-kick out. 

Less than 10 minutes later though Mbappe put the hosts ahead after tapping home a rebound from Griezman's saved shot. 

France could have doubled their lead five minutes before the break as Mbappe blazed a great opportunity straight over the bar. 

Griezman kicked the second half off well for Didier Deschamps' men with a beautiful long-range effort that curled into the top far corner, giving France a two-goal lead. 

Just on the hour mark Page changed his formation with the Welsh backline moving from a back three to a back four with the return of Ben Davies at left-back, a welcomed move by Wales fans after the Tottenham Hotspur defender was facing doubts over his Euro 2020 involvement

Daniel Jame missed a great chance to pull one back for Wales in the 64th minute. Substitute Aaron Ramsey found the Manchester United winger with a tidy through ball, however, Jame's shot was parried away by Hugo Lloris before Chris Gunter ended the move by flying one over the bar. 

Two became three in the 78th minute when late change Dembele tapped the ball home from Ward saving Benzemaa's effort. 

 

  • Talking Points

Benzema's back

An off the pitch controversy has kept the Real Madrid star out of the national squad for over five years but tonight he made his return wearing the french strip for the first time since October 2015.  It wasn't exactly a perfect return, he missed a penalty in the first half 

10 men Wales 

Until the sending off of Williams, the visitors looked pretty comfortable, working the ball around well and getting into good attacking areas. However, the complexity of the tie changed after referee Luis Godinho's VAR assisted decision.

A penalty was fair for the handball but a sending off could be seen as harsh as the ball just happened to hit his arm whilst he threw himself in the way of the shot. 

  • Teams

France: Lloris, Pavard (Kounde 46'), Varane, Kimpembe, Hernandez (Digne 46'), Pogba, Tolisso, Rabiot, Griezman (Ben Yedder 83'), Benzema, Mbappe (Dembele 73')

Unused subs: Mandanda, Maignan, Lenglet, Dubois, Thuram

Wales: Ward, Gubter, Mepham (Davies 56'), Rodn, Roberts, Wilson (Ramsey 56'), Allen (Levitt 56'), Williams, Morrell (Colwill 82'), James (Brooks 74'), Bale (Moore 56')

Unused Subs: Hennessey, Davies, Norrington-Davies, Cabango, Roberts, Williams 

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