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Griezmann and Giroud hand France win over Wales

Antoine Griezmann

Wales were well beaten by an impressive France side in a friendly in Paris but the match offered hope for the visitors with the emergence of a next generation of young players.

France made a blistering start to the game, with Kylian Mbappe hitting the crossbar before Antoine Griezmann's neat volley on the turn gave the dominant hosts a richly-deserved lead.

They eased off a little from that point but their myriad attacking threats always combined dangerously and, after missing several chances, the home side doubled their advantage through Olivier Giroud's deflected effort.

It was a fortuitous goal but no more than France's play warranted, with Les Bleus twice hitting the woodwork as Wales' goal came under siege.

Despite being outplayed for much of the game, Wales will take heart from the promising performances of Chelsea's 17-year-old defensive midfielder Ethan Ampadu and Sheffield United forward David Brooks, who impressed after coming on for their debuts in the second half.

With Liverpool's 18-year-old forward Ben Woodburn introduced at the same point for his fifth cap, the sight of three young Welsh players taking to the field felt like a significant moment for the future of Welsh football.

Wales' bright future?

Ethan Ampadu

Chris Coleman's future was the dominant theme in the build-up to the game, with the Wales manager yet to decide on his future and set to formally start negotiations over a new contract after Tuesday's friendly at home to Panama.

Whereas Coleman has earmarked that fixture in Cardiff as a chance to experiment with a youthful side, he knew Wales would need to be as close to full strength as possible to handle a formidable France team in Paris.

They were hampered by the continued absence of Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, as well the withdrawals of a handful of other players such as experienced striker Hal Robson-Kanu.

It therefore came as little surprise that the visitors were thoroughly outplayed, with Welsh fans offering ironic cries of "ole" to each pass their team made during a rare spell of possession at one stage in the first half.

Wales reverted to a five-man defence in an attempt to contain the attacking threats of Griezmann, Mbappe and company, but often found themselves over-run and pinned back into their own half.

However, they clung on and managed an effort on target after one counter-attack, right-back Chris Gunter shooting tamely at Steve Mandanda as he searched for a first international goal on his 84th appearance for his country.

The most significant moment of the game from a Welsh perspective arrived on 64 minutes, as Ampadu and Brooks came on for their debuts alongside Woodburn, their introduction adding pace and invention that had been lacking in Wales' display.

Both Ampadu and Brooks are eligible to play for England and, although friendly fixtures are not binding, the sight of the two players next to fellow fledgling talent Woodburn was one that suggested there is reason for Wales to be optimistic in the wake of their failure to qualify for the World Cup.

France show World Cup credentials

Having qualified comfortably for the World Cup, France are already being touted as potential winners of next year's tournament in Russia and, on this evidence, the hype is justified.

Didier Deschamps has an almost absurd wealth of attacking options from which to choose, and it was Atletico Madrid forward Griezmann and Paris St-Germain's Mbappe - set to become the second most expensive player of all time - who shone brightest here.

Griezmann was the graceful link between midfield and attack, while Mbappe married his electric pace with intelligent distribution that kept the Wales defence guessing.

At just 18 years old, the potential of the striker PSG have signed from Monaco is enormous.

Their selection alongside Arsenal's Giroud and Kingsley Coman of Bayern Munich meant the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Anthony Martial were on the bench, while Barcelona's £135.5m Ousmane Dembele was missing through injury.

Deschamps' task is finding a balance that allows these precocious talents to thrive while maintaining team discipline, and it is the dynamic Blaise Matuidi and Corentin Tolisso who provide a defensive base in midfield.

Their strength in depth extends to defence too, with hosts able to rest Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane against Wales, although it was a comfortable night for France's backline.

France appear to have the talent and depth to prosper in Russia next year.

More to follow.

Line-ups

France

  • 16Mandanda
  • 2JalletSubstituted forPavardat 45'minutes
  • 21Koscielny
  • 5Umtiti
  • 3Kurzawa
  • 12MbappeSubstituted forThauvinat 84'minutes
  • 6TolissoSubstituted forN'Zonziat 45'minutes
  • 14Matuidi
  • 11ComanSubstituted forMartialat 73'minutes
  • 7GriezmannSubstituted forFekirat 63'minutes
  • 9GiroudSubstituted forLacazetteat 73'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Areola
  • 4Varane
  • 8Fekir
  • 10Lacazette
  • 13Thauvin
  • 15Rabiot
  • 17Digne
  • 18Sissoko
  • 19Pavard
  • 20Martial
  • 22Kimpembe
  • 23Costil
  • 24N'Zonzi

Wales

  • 1Hennessey
  • 5Chester
  • 6Williams
  • 4DaviesSubstituted forWoodburnat 63'minutes
  • 2Gunter
  • 8KingSubstituted forBrooksat 64'minutes
  • 7AllenBooked at 53mins
  • 16LedleySubstituted forAmpaduat 64'minutes
  • 3Taylor
  • 10Ramsey
  • 9VokesSubstituted forLawrenceat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Lawrence
  • 12Maxwell
  • 13Evans
  • 14Edwards
  • 15Ampadu
  • 17Lockyer
  • 18Brooks
  • 19Bradshaw
  • 20Watkins
  • 21Ward
  • 22Woodburn
  • 23Hedges
Referee:
Jorge Sousa

Match Stats

Home TeamFranceAway TeamWales
Possession
Home63%
Away37%
Shots
Home19
Away6
Shots on Target
Home4
Away2
Corners
Home9
Away2
Fouls
Home16
Away6

Live Text

Match ends, France 2, Wales 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, France 2, Wales 0.

Attempt missed. Ben Woodburn (Wales) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by David Brooks with a cross.

Foul by Alexandre Lacazette (France).

James Chester (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Layvin Kurzawa (France).

David Brooks (Wales) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Aaron Ramsey (Wales) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Substitution

Substitution, France. Florian Thauvin replaces Kylian Mbappe.

Substitution

Substitution, Wales. Tom Lawrence replaces Sam Vokes.

Attempt missed. Kylian Mbappe (France) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Nabil Fekir.

Benjamin Pavard (France) hits the left post with a right footed shot from the right side of the box. Assisted by Kylian Mbappe.

Offside, France. Nabil Fekir tries a through ball, but Anthony Martial is caught offside.

Samuel Umtiti (France) hits the bar with a left footed shot from the centre of the box following a corner.

Corner, France. Conceded by David Brooks.

Foul by Alexandre Lacazette (France).

James Chester (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Samuel Umtiti (France) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by David Brooks (Wales).

Substitution

Substitution, France. Anthony Martial replaces Kingsley Coman.

Substitution

Substitution, France. Alexandre Lacazette replaces Olivier Giroud.

Foul by Samuel Umtiti (France).

Sam Vokes (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! France 2, Wales 0. Olivier Giroud (France) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kylian Mbappe with a cross.

Corner, Wales. Conceded by Samuel Umtiti.

Attempt blocked. Kingsley Coman (France) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Layvin Kurzawa.

Attempt blocked. Joe Allen (Wales) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Sam Vokes.

Attempt saved. Aaron Ramsey (Wales) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ethan Ampadu.

Attempt missed. Ethan Ampadu (Wales) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by David Brooks.

Attempt missed. Steven N'Zonzi (France) header from the right side of the six yard box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Nabil Fekir with a cross following a corner.

Corner, France. Conceded by Joe Allen.

Substitution

Substitution, Wales. David Brooks replaces Andy King.

Substitution

Substitution, Wales. Ethan Ampadu replaces Joe Ledley.

Substitution

Substitution, Wales. Ben Woodburn replaces Ben Davies.

Substitution

Substitution, France. Nabil Fekir replaces Antoine Griezmann.

Foul by Samuel Umtiti (France).

Joe Allen (Wales) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Kylian Mbappe (France).

Chris Gunter (Wales) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Kingsley Coman (France) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Kylian Mbappe.

goal

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