France recover to draw with Iceland
By D. Crossan
World champions France avoided a shock reverse in Guingamp as they recovered from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Iceland.
October 11, 2018
Stade du Roudourou, Guingamp
France 2-2 Iceland
Kylian Mbappé came off the bench to change the game, the teenage prodigy provoking an own goal and then scoring a last-gasp penalty - the first he's taken in senior football - that spared France's blushes.
Les Bleus had plenty of the ball without overly threatening as Iceland threatened to record their first win in ten games. Olympique de Marseille star Florian Thauvin made his first France start and he had a chance (29') that he fired over the bar after good service from Ousmane Dembélé. Erik Hamren's visitors went in front (30') through Birkir Bjarnason of Aston Villa. Alfred Finnbogason beat Lucas Digne and crossed for Bjarnason, who curled the ball beyond Hugo Lloris, back in goal after missing September's internationals through injury.
France nearly equalised (54') when Dembélé's cross was greeted by Antoine Griezmann's head and Hannes Haldorsson was forced to make a very good save to deny the Atlético Madrid star. Iceland looked well on course to avenge their mauling at the hands of France in the quarter-finals of UEFA Euro 2016 when Kari Arnason doubled their lead (58') as he beat Presnel Kimpembe to the ball to nod past Lloris.
France pulled one back (86') when debutant Tanguy Ndombele, on as a sub, won the ball back and centred for Mbappé. The attacker crossed hard and Holmar Örn Eyjolfsson turned the ball into his own net. France were thrown a lifeline (89') when Nantes' Kolbeinn Sigthorsson - a substitute - handled a Dimitri Payet free-kick. Mbappé found the corner of Halldorsson's net from 12 yards and France dodged their first loss since winning the World Cup in Russia this summer.
THE PLAYER: Kylian Mbappé
Reports that Mbappé was suffering with a slight thigh problem disappointed the home crowd and the PSG star began on the bench, coming on for Griezmann with half-an-hour to play. In red-hot form, having struck a quadruple against Lyon on Sunday, Mbappé calmly dispatched the last-minute penalty for his 10th international goal in his 25th appearance for France. The 19-year-old makes things happen and it was his cross that was turned in for the own goal that got France back into the game.
THE STAT: 6
Iceland had six shots on target in the first half, the most France had given up in the opening period for 10 years.