France held despite Lacazette double

Les Bleus
14/11/2017

By A. Scott

A late, late goal forced France to settle for a 2-2 draw with Germany in Cologne on Tuesday after Alexandre Lacazette scored twice for Les Bleus.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

International friendly, RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne

Germany  2 - 2  France

THE MATCH

Both coaches rang the changes for this final outing of 2017, with Didier Deschamps making five to the side that had beaten Wales 2-0 at the Stade de France on Friday. Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud, the goal-scorers in that game, were among those to drop out while Raphaël Varane, Lucas Digne, Adrien Rabiot, Anthony Martial and Lacazette all came in. The German line-up showed six changes to the side that drew 0-0 with England at Wembley four days earlier with goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, out of favour at Paris Saint-Germain, one of those to come in.

France had been the last side to defeat Germany, with the World Cup holders undefeated in 20 outings since losing 2-0 in Marseille in the Euro 2016 semi-finals. Samuel Umtiti and Blaise Matuidi were the only survivors for Les Bleus from that game but the new faces impressed at the RheinEnergieStadion.

Lacazette tested Trapp from range with a powerful strike after hounding İlkay Gündoğan off the ball on halfway (19') and Rabiot set up Kylian Mbappé who also forced a save from the home goalkeeper (32'). The opener then arrived in style, Lucas Digne's first-time cushioned pass finding Martial, with the Manchester United forward dribbling past the lunging Niklas Süle and squaring for Lacazette to roll the ball into an empty net from six yards (33').

Stindl saves face for Germany

Germany drew level on the break 11 minutes into the second period, with Mesut Özil releasing Timo Werner for the RB Leipzig forward to slide the ball into the net under the advancing Steve Mandanda.

The Olympique de Marseille goalkeeper then kept out a superb Toni Kroos free-kick with the help of his crossbar, and a minute later France were back in front. Mbappé found Lacazette, who was played onside by questionable home defending and ran through to finish under an exposed Trapp (71').

Martial missed a glorious chance to cap a fine display with a goal (89') and that would prove crucial as Germany equalised right at the death. Mario Götze's delightful lay-off from Özil's pass set up substitute Lars Stindl to fire past Mandanda at his near post and ensure that the honours were shared (90+3'). It was a frustrating end for Les Bleus, but they are now unbeaten in seven outings since a 2-1 loss in Sweden in June and can look forward to next month's draw for the World Cup.

THE PLAYER: Alexandre Lacazette

The Arsenal man has not often got the chance he deserves at international level due to the intense competition for places in attack and Deschamps' continuing faith in Olivier Giroud - Lacazette's colleague at club level. Here he won his 16th cap, but this was just his fifth start for his country. And his brace allowed him to triple his goal tally at international level - his only previous goal for his country had come in a 2-0 friendly win over Denmark in Saint-Etienne in March 2015.

THE STAT: 5

The number of assists provided by Anthony Martial since he made his full international debut in September 2015. Only Antoine Griezmann (9) and Dimiri Payet (6) have set up more goals over the same period. This was Martial's first start for France since September last year.

>> LES BLEUS: Fixtures/results








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