Mbappe cameo helps France avoid shock Iceland defeat | 2018-10-13

Mbappe cameo helps France avoid shock Iceland defeat

Afp, Guingamp

13 October, 2018 12:00 AM printer

Mbappe cameo helps France avoid shock Iceland defeat

France forward Kylian Mbappe vies with Iceland goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson during their friendly match at Roudourou Stadium in Guingamp, western France on Thursday. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. - AFP Photo

Kylian Mbappe inspired a fightback from world champions France as they rallied from two goals down at home to earn a 2-2 draw with Iceland on Thursday.

Birkir Bjarnason swept Iceland ahead from the edge of the area on 30 minutes, and Kari Arnason’s excellent second-half header doubled their lead in Guingamp.

But Mbappe, brought on as a substitute for the final half-hour, gave France a lifeline when his shot was saved and then inadvertently turned in by Iceland defender Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward levelled from the penalty spot in the 90th minute after Kolbeinn Sigthorsson handled at a corner.

France coach Didier Deschamps fielded six of the players that began the World Cup final against Croatia, handing in-form Marseille winger Florian Thauvin his first start as Mbappe was left on the bench.

Iceland were beaten 5-2 by France in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, and new coach Erik Hamren’s reign had started disastrously with two heavy defeats to open their Nations League campaign.

But the Nordic nation with a population of around 350,000 stunned the hosts in Brittany as Aston Villa midfielder Bjarnason beat Hugo Lloris with a low strike after Alfred Finnbogason stole the ball from Presnel Kimpembe.

Ousmane Dembele was denied an equaliser by a terrific block from Iceland goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson, while Lloris pulled off a stunning save from Ragnar Sigurdsson before keeping out follow-up efforts by Bjarnason and Finnbogason.

A searing Thauvin strike fizzed just over the crossbar early in the second half, with an Antoine Griezmann header also turned behind by Runarsson.

Arnason connected superbly at a corner, heading in via the underside of the bar, as Iceland surged two goals clear on 58 minutes and on course for a first win since beating Kosovo 2-0 last October.

Mbappe promptly replaced Griezmann, and the teenager soon had the ball in the back of the net only for it to be correctly ruled out for offside.

 


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