Euro 2020 Special

International Friendly: Les Bleus Tame the Depleted Red Dragons

France 3-0 Wales

France showed everyone why they’re one of the favourites heading to Euro 2020 as they demolished Wales during their International Friendly last night at Nice.

The game was sprinkled with controversy as the Red Dragons were reduced to 10 men since Neco Williams was sent off with a red card due to a handball.

Karim Benzema, who made his return to international football after a six-year absence, almost got into the International Friendly 2021 highlights reel since he was tasked to take the spot-kick. However, Danny Ward did his job to prevent a goal.

But eventually, the French took advantage of a weakened Wales squad and they were buoyed by goals from Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, and Ousmane Dembele.

Although the scoreline was harsh on Wales, Robert Page and co. shouldn’t feel too bad for themselves since they stood up well to the hosts in the opening salvo.

However, their inability to attack was exposed and it’s clear that there’s more work to do if they have plans on repeating their Cinderella run back in Euro 2016.

Without further ado, SBOTOP looks back at what happened last night. 


Highlights of the game

Karim Benzema’s addition proved to pay dividends as he has formed great chemistry with Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann right away.

He didn’t waste any time when the opening whistle sounded as during the fourth minute, he almost headed in his first goal in seven years after a Paul Pogba cross which was saved by Danny Ward.

One minute later, Wales threatened at goal when Daniel James chipped a shot from the left flank which drew a save from Hugo Lloris.

After a lively back-and-forth between the two sides for the next 15 minutes, Les Bleus had another golden opportunity as Paul Pogba had a header, but it was saved once more by Danny Ward.

Wales fell to a 3-0 International Friendly defeat to France after Neco William’s controversial red card
Referee Luis Godinho presents a red card to Wales’ defender Neco Williams during match against France at Allianz Riviera Stadium

Unfortunately for Wales after the miss, Neco Williams prompted a VAR review after blocking Karim Benzema’s rebound with his hand . 

The young Liverpool centre-back was harshly sent off by the referees since they considered his handball to be deliberate despite being in great position to stop the shot anyway.

Karim Benzema was put to the spot for a penalty kick, but Danny Ward showed his class by tipping his attempt away to prevent a France lead.

However, Didier Deschamps’ side got their opener eight minutes later as Kylian Mbappe forced the ball past Danny Ward after getting the rebound from Antoine Griezmann’s follow-up when Adrien Rabiot missed a low shot.

From there, France never looked back as they scored three minutes after the restart when Kylian Mbappe returned the favour to Antoine Griezmann, who launched a rocket into the top corner of the net after a clever ball from Paul Pogba.

Aaron Ramsey, who was subbed in during the second half, created a chance for Wales when he fed Daniel James through on goal. But the Manchester United winger miffed his attempt and Hugo Lloris was there to clean up.

Karim Benzema almost scored again during the 79th minute, but his shot struck the woodwork and the ball bounced fortuitously to Ousmane Dembele to slide the ball home.


Key statistics

The reason why Wales were not favoured in our International Friendly 2021 odds is because they haven’t played well in their exhibition away matches. 

Since a 1-0 victory at Denmark back in November 2008, the Red Dragons have lost each of their last nine exhibitions as visitors and they’ve failed to score a single goal in their last eight.

Gareth Bale needs to find his shooting boots fast as he has failed to score in any of his last nine starts for the Red Dragons.

Meanwhile, penalty kicks have been the Achilles heel for France so far since they’ve failed to convert five of their last eight – including Karim Benzema’s miss.

The Real Madrid striker has missed each of his last three spot-kicks for Les Bleus, with the other two coming from his last cap in 2014.


What’s next?

France and Wales have a couple more exhibition matches before officially participating in Euro 2020.

For Les Bleus, they’ll take on Bulgaria on Tuesday and then they’ll face Germany the week after before heading to Munich.

On the other hand, the Red Dragons host Albania in their final warmup game this Saturday. Their first Euro 2020 match will be against Switzerland in Baku.




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