Mbappe saves French blushes in 2-2 draw with Iceland

Friday, 2018-10-12 07:13:05
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France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates their first goal scored by Iceland's Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson with an own goal during their clash at Stade municipal de Roudourou, Guingamp, France on October 11, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)
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France substitute Kylian Mbappe engineered two late goals to rescue a 2-2 draw against Iceland and spare the blushes of the world champions in their friendly in Guingamp on Thursday.

The home side enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and created plenty of good scoring opportunities, but Iceland, hammered 6-0 and 3-0 in their last two games by Switzerland and Belgium, still managed to take the lead on the half-hour mark.

Alfred Finnbogason dispossessed defender Presnel Kimpembe near the corner flag before jinking inside Lucas Digne and squaring the ball to the onrushing Birkir Bjarnason, who side-footed it home from the edge of the area.

It was Iceland’s first goal under new coach Erik Hamren and Kari Arnason added their second 13 minutes into the second half, flicking a near-post corner past France keeper Hugo Lloris and into the net.

That prompted the introduction of Mbappe, who scored France’s fourth goal in their 4-2 World Cup final win over Croatia.

The Iceland players threw themselves frantically at every ball in a concerted effort to keep their clean sheet, but they were undone in the 86th minute.

After having a goal ruled out for offside, the 19-year-old Mbappe hammered a shot that goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson deflected into Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, who sent it bouncing across the line for an own goal.

Mbappe levelled the scores four minutes later, stepping up to rifle the ball home from the penalty spot after a handball by Kolbeinn Sigthorsson.

France host Germany at the Stade de France on Tuesday in their third UEFA Nations League A, Group 1 match, having picked up four points from their opening two games. Iceland host Switzerland in Group 2 on Monday.

Sweden's Robin Olsen in action during the UEFA Nations League League B clash with Russia at Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Russia on October 11, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)

On Thursday, Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen pulled off a world-class save as his side held Russia to a 0-0 draw in their Nations League B, Group 2 clash in Kaliningrad.

Meanwhile, an Aleksandar Mitrovic brace gave Serbia a 2-0 away win over neighbours Montenegro the same day that put them top of their UEFA Nations League group. The result left Serbia on seven points from three games in the third-tier Group 4, two ahead of Romania, who won 2-1 at Lithuania. Montenegro have four points and Lithuania none.

Spain continued their sparkling start to life under Luis Enrique with a 4-1 win away to Wales in a friendly on Thursday helped by two goals from Paco Alcacer as they earned a third straight win since their former Barcelona manager took charge. Both sides are in Nations League action next week with Spain hosting England on Monday and Wales visiting Ireland on Tuesday.

Portugal's Bernardo Silva scored a typical individual goal as their new-look side recovered to win 3-2 away to Poland in the Nations League with an impressive performance on Thursday. Andre Silva's strike and a Kamil Glik own goal put the European champions ahead by halftime, after Krzysztof Piatek had given Poland an early lead, and Bernardo Silva then got in the act early in the second half of the League A Group 3 game.

Reuters