Mbappe cameo rescues France

SUPER SUB: France's Kylian Mbappe (centre) celebrates after scoring against Iceland in a friendly on Thursday. AP/PTI

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.

Iceland were beaten 5-2 by France in the quarterfinals 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.

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

It was a warning that went unheeded by Iceland, as Mbappe was at the origin of an attack that saw France pull a goal back with four minutes to play.

Mbappe then snatched a draw in the final minute with a nerveless spot-kick, before a clumsy foul on the jet-heeled forward in stoppage time sparked a confrontation between both sets of players over by the touchline.

Spain run riot

Paco Alcacer made his case for a regular place in the Spain team as the on-loan Borussia Dortmund forward struck twice in his country's 4-1 rout of Wales in Cardiff.

With Diego Costa injured and Rodrigo on the bench, Alcacer seized his chance to impress Spain boss Luis Enrique in his first international appearance since March 2016.

The 25-year-old maintained his blistering club form to leave the Wales defence in tatters in a one-sided friendly at the Principality Stadium.

Alcacer netted twice in the first half to make it eight goals in 14 Spain appearances, while Sergio Ramos and Marc Bartra were also on target for the visitors.

Argentina win

Argentina shrugged off the absence of Lionel Messi as a second-string team eased past Iraq 4-0 in an international friendly in Riyadh.

Interim coach Lionel Scaloni used the match to blood a host of new talent with goalkeeper Sergio Romero, defender Ramiro Funes Mori and striker Paulo Dybala the only experienced players in the line-up.

Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez opened the scoring in the 18th minute with a near-post header from a left-wing cross by Marcos Acuna.

Roberto Pereyra grabbed the second in the 53rd minute when the Watford player finished off a smart one-two with Dybala.

Fiorentina defender German Pezzella headed the third goal from a corner past over-worked Iraq goalkeeper Jalal Hassan with Franco Cervi breaking through the defence for the fourth goal in stoppage time.

Friendly results: Argentina: 4 bt Iraq: 0; Wales: 1 lt to Spain: 4; France: 2 drew with Iceland: 2; USA: 2 lt to Colombia: 4; Mexico: 3 bt Costa Rica: 2.

 

 

 

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Mbappe cameo rescues France

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