France 2-0 Wales: Olivier Giroud on target in France win
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 10/11/17 11:42pm
France sealed a comfortable 2-0 win over Wales at the Stade de France courtesy of goals from Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud.
Chris Coleman's side produced a valiant defensive effort and created chances to restore parity after Griezmann's opener with Chris Gunter and Aaron Ramsey both denied by Steve Mandanda.
But Giroud's deflected shot ended Wales' chances of a revival with the hosts coming close to extending their lead when Samuel Umtiti's effort hit the post.
Coleman opted to hand debuts in the second half to Ethan Ampadu and David Brooks to provide encouraging signs for the future with Wales next in action at home to Panama on Tuesday.
France: Mandanda (7), Jallet (7), Koscielny (6), Umtiti (7), Kurzawa (7), Tolisso (7), Matuidi (6), Coman (6), Mbappe (8), Giroud (7), Griezmann (6)
Subs: Pavard (6), Nzonzi (6), Fekir (6), Martial (n/a), Thauvin (n/a)
Wales: Hennessey (6), Gunter (7), Taylor (6), Chester (6), Williams (7), Davies (6), Allen (6), King (5), Ledley (5), Ramsey (7), Vokes (5)
Subs: Ampadu (7), Brooks (7), Woodburn (6), Lawrence (n/a)
Man of the match: Kylian Mbappe (France)
Wales were once more without their talisman Gareth Bale, who received a further setback on Friday with news he will be sidelined for another month with a leg injury. Coleman fielded an experienced side with Sam Vokes leading the line.
But the Burnley striker cut an isolated figure during an opening 15 minutes that were dominated by the hosts, and Kylian Mbappe saw his fierce drive through Wayne Hennessey's legs ricochet off the underside of the crossbar.
Wales' reprieve was short-lived, however, as France duly took the lead in straight-forward fashion. Corentin Tolisso found Griezmann with a pin-point lofted pass and Hennessey was only able to direct his hooked effort into the net from 12 yards.
France allowed their opponents back into the contest and Coleman's men had a good chance to level before the interval but Gunter could only fire straight at Mandanda after the Reading full-back latched onto Neil Taylor's low cross.
Joe Ledley felt he had been fouled by Laurent Koscielny as the ball ran through to his team-mate but Portugal referee Manuel De Sousa saw no infringement.
France began the second period brightly as Giroud and Coman both went close with the latter striking the left-hand post from 25 yards, but Wales very nearly shocked the hosts shortly after Coleman's bold triple substitution.
France manager Didider Deschamps gave starts to Layvin Kurzawa and Kingsley Coman while Steve Mandanda deputised in place of the injured Hugo Lloris. Wales made two changes to the side that were beaten by the Republic of Ireland last month in Cardiff as Sam Vokes and Neil Taylor came in for Tom Lawrence and Hal Robson-Kanu.
Youngsters Ampadu, Brooks and Ben Woodburn were all introduced and it was Chelsea midfielder Ampadu who very nearly set up an equaliser as his shot was flicked towards goal by Ramsey only for Mandanda to react quickly with his feet to make an instinctive save.
As Wales grew in confidence, France settled the game on the counter-attack as the impressive Mbappe broke down the right to set up Giroud, and the striker's shot found the bottom corner via a deflection off James Chester.
Didier Deschamps (France): "There were many good things. We have created many opportunities. The score could have been heavier, but we did the right things to trouble the Welsh team. It's a very good match from us."
Chris Coleman (Wales): "That's the best team we've ever played against. We gave some of the younger ones a taste of it. That's invaluable that type of experience.
"I think Wales will have a better squad in 12 months' time than the one we took to the Euros. We have more strength in depth now. They need experience and we have to be patient."
Man of the match - Kylian Mbappe
Mbappe demonstrated his abundance of potential once more as he kept the Wales defence occupied all night with another scintillating display in Paris.
The world's second-most expensive player is set to light up the World Cup in Russia next summer and provided an assist for France's decisive second strike on the night. All that was missing from the forward's display was a goal.
Wales host Panama at the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday night while France face Germany in an international friendly on the same evening at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne.