France first-half show enough to beat Bolivia
Antoine Griezmann and Thomas Lemar's first-half goals were enough to give France a 2-0 win over Bolivia in Sunday's friendly to set the FIFA World Cup winners up nicely for their upcoming UEFA EURO 2020 qualifiers.
Sunday, 2 June, 2019
Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes
France 2-0 Bolivia
With Paris Saint-Germain's Alphonse Areola in goal and his club teammate Kylian Mbappé leading the line as well as Olympique de Marseille's Florian Thauvin and Olympique Lyonnais' Tanguy Ndombele, the world champions' starting XI had a strong Ligue 1 Conforama flavour.
Mbappé had been given the central role up front in the absence of Olivier Giroud, who had only just joined up with the squad after helping Chelsea win the UEFA Europa League, and who is likely to reclaim the positon for next weekend's qualifier in Turkey.
But Didier Deschamps' men quickly showed they can still find the net without one of their first-choice forwards. Griezmann kicked off a counter-attack down the right before passing infield for Atletico Madrid teammate Thomas Lemar — the ex-SM Caen and AS Monaco man sent a delicious lob over Carlos Lampe for his fourth international strike (5').
Samuel Umtiti had a header cleared off the line (13') and Lampe pushed out a Thauvin effort (15') as Bolivia, in their first meeting with France, threatened to be swamped.
Lampe pushed out a Griezmann header from close range (39'), but could not deny the Atletico forward as he poached a second for France after Umtiti had sent a header goalwards from a corner (43').
Lyon's Leo Dubois made his senior international debut after the break while Mbappé was taken out of the firing line in anticipation of the more important games to come.
His replacement, Wissam ben Yedder, quickly forced Lampe into action again (51') and he then brilliantly kept out Lemar (52') with France looking to enable themselves to coast home at the Stade de la Beaujoire where they had not lost any of their previous nine encounters.
Kingsley Coman came off the bench to force yet another save from Lampe (71'), but France were unable to add to the scoreline.
THE PLAYER: Antoine Griezmann
He was at the heart of everything good France did going forward, had a major hand in the first goal, scored the second. Who could ask for more?
THE STAT: 29
Griezmann now has 29 goals in 70 internationals.