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Griezmann scores as Mbappe picks up ankle knock in victory ahead of tough Euro qualifying trip

Thomas Lemar also scored in France’s 2-0 friendly win over Bolivia.

France star Antoine Griezmann [file pic].
France star Antoine Griezmann [file pic].
Image: Niviere David/ABACAPRESS.COM

FRANCE WARMED UP for a tough Euro 2020 qualifying trip to Turkey by easing to a 2-0 friendly win over Bolivia in Nantes on Sunday.

Thomas Lemar and Antoine Griezmann scored first half-goals as the world champions made light work of a side that has won just once since September 2017.

The South Americans, who now head to Brazil to contest the Copa America, had goalkeeper Carlos Lampe to thank for keeping the margin down in a one-sided affair.

France’s frustrations going forward were compounded by the loss of Kylian Mbappe to an ankle knock late in the first half, an unwanted concern ahead of Saturday’s crunch Group H clash in Konya.

The gulf in class was clear from as early as the fifth minute, Lemar collecting Griezmann’s pass and lifting a deft finish over the onrushing Lampe.

Samuel Umtiti and Florian Thauvin both went close before Griezmann added the second, the seemingly outgoing Atletico Madrid man producing an intelligent finish on the turn following Bolivia’s failure to clear in the box.

The celebrations were tempered somewhat after a clash of ankles with Raul Castro forced Mbappe to hobble out of the match at half-time.

Lampe denied the Paris Saint-Germain star’s replacement, Wissam Ben Yedder, soon after the interval and then stuck out a boot to divert a goal-bound Lemar strike.

Thauvin, substitute Kingsley Coman and Paul Pogba all tried in vain to give the scoreline a fairer reflection of France’s dominance but Bolivia held out with more help from their impressive 32-year-old keeper.

Afforded the chance to start centrally as Olivier Giroud watched from the bench, Mbappe will be disappointed that his opportunity to impress came to a premature conclusion.

The 20-year-old is a known quantity as a wide player at international level and it appears as though that is where he will stay for the time being.

If concerned that a planned move to Barcelona appears less likely to come to fruition, Griezmann certainly did not show it in Nantes.

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He set up the opener and scored the second in the kind of classy performance that might just convince the LaLiga champions to take him to Camp Nou.

Deschamps is not short on options in wide areas and the France boss will be less inclined to hand Thauvin another start in Turkey, the Marseille man having lacked polish in promising moments.

Following their top-of-the-table clash with Turkey, France face a rather more straightforward encounter away at Andorra.

Bolivia, meanwhile, have a difficult date with hosts Brazil in their Copa America opener. Peru and Venezuela are their other Group A opponents.

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