Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
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# Setback
France's defeat of Uruguay comes at a cost
Kylian Mbappe’s injury overshadowed a 1-0 friendly win.

Updated at 00.22

A SHOULDER INJURY to Kylian Mbappe overshadowed France’s 1-0 friendly win over Uruguay at the Stade de France on Tuesday as Didier Deschamps’ world champions ended the year on a high note.

After the disappointment of seeing the Netherlands pip them to a place at the Nations League finals with a late Virgil van Dijk goal in Germany on Monday, Olivier Giroud’s 52nd-minute penalty gave France victory in a repeat of the two teams’ World Cup quarter-final meeting in Russia.

But Mbappe had to be replaced in the first half after a nasty fall, continuing a miserable night for his Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel after the German had already seen Neymar hobble off injured early in Brazil’s friendly with Cameroon in Milton Keynes.

PSG face Liverpool in a crucial Champions League clash at the Parc des Princes on November 28.

Roared on by a large crowd in Paris, France opened up the Uruguay defence in only the fourth minute, but Giroud fired a first-time shot wide of the near post with just goalkeeper Martin Campana to beat.

Matias Vecino headed too close to Hugo Lloris as the visitors settled into the game, but Mbappe should have put France ahead when he raced clean through on goal, only to mishit a chipped effort well wide.

The PSG man was left writhing on the ground in pain after a heavy touch saw him tackled by Campana, appearing to sustain a shoulder injury as he crashed to the turf.

Mbappe tried to play on, but he only lasted a matter of seconds before signalling to the bench that he could not continue and was replaced by Florian Thauvin.

Chelsea striker Giroud wasted another good opportunity for the French shortly after the break, heading over from the edge of the six-yard box.

But he was given an even better chance to get on the scoresheet as Martin Cacares was penalised for handball after Antoine Griezmann’s shot struck his chest and his arm.

Giroud stepped up and slammed a confident spot-kick into the bottom corner past Campana.

The world champions started to play with more confidence, and Tanguy Ndombele forced the onrushing Campana into a good save after a wonderful scooped pass by Griezmann.

Substitute Jonathan Rodriguez went close as Uruguay piled bodies forward-looking for an equaliser, but Oscar Tabarez’s team slipped to a second successive 1-0 friendly loss after their defeat by Brazil in London last week.

Belgium Italy US Soccer Francisco seco Italy's Leonardo Bonucci, centre, reaches for the ball past Unites States' Walker Zimmerman. Francisco seco

Meanwhile, late substitute Matteo Politano scored an injury-time winner to lift a new-look Italy to a 1-0 win over the United States in an international friendly in Genk on Tuesday.

Roberto Mancini’s side had looked set for another goalless draw after crashing out of the Nations League with a 0-0 stalemate against Portugal in Milan on Saturday.

But Politano came on three minutes from time and slotted home in the 94th minute.

It got Italy belatedly off the mark in a match they had dominated but which demonstrated Mancini’s side’s difficulty converting opportunities into goals.

“We had so many chances, the important thing is that it was a good performance,” said Mancini.

It was the first time we were playing together, so we couldn’t think of playing like the first half for 90 minutes. 

“We got a little stretched as we pushed harder to find the breakthrough.

“I would have been very disappointed for it to end 0-0, especially for the players and for the Italians who came to see us.”

Mancini wanted to test new players as Italy head towards Euro 2020 qualifying after failing to make the World Cup finals in Russia.

Sassuolo midfielder Stefano Sensi, Hoffenheim’s Vincenzo Grifo and Juventus forward Moise Kean all made their Italy debuts.

Kean, born in February 2000, became the first player born in the 21st century to play for Italy, coming on after 62 minutes for Domenico Berardi.

“Sensi did really well, so did Kean and Grifo. Acerbi and De Sciglio impressed me too,” said Mancini.

The Euro qualifiers are coming up next year, so we’ve had a few too many draws and defeats lately, here’s hoping we get all victories.”

- Italy wasteful -

Federico Chiesa and Leonardo Bonucci missed early chances as Italy dominated the first half and let the United States have few opportunities.

Under-pressure US goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, who plays his club football in Belgium for Club Brugge, got his fingers to a curling Berardi shot from the edge of the box, and then got down low to keep out a Marco Verratti free-kick.

Walker Zimmerman had a rare chance for the United States on 65 minutes from a free-kick, but home goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu saved his header.

With the clock ticking down, Mancini brought on Politano for Kevin Lasagna and he found a way through by finishing off an excellent move after Roberto Gagliardini and Verratti combined in the area.

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For the United States the loss followed their 3-0 defeat by England at Wembley last week.

“We knew this fall series was going to be ambitious,” said caretaker US coach Dave Sarachan, who confirmed he would not be staying in the role.

“It was my last game,” said Sarachan.

“I feel as though this has been a very good year for the programme. I feel as though we moved it forward.

We played a good team, who step on the field with a real confidence about them and we knew that there would be a lot of defending tonight.

“Ethan Horvath had a great night and made some great saves. He was man-of-the-match and did really well.”

Selected international friendly results on Tuesday:

Turkey 0 Ukraine 0

Albania 1 (Balaj 59-pen) Wales 0

Brazil 1 (Richarlison 45) Cameroon 0

Italy 1 (Politano 90+4) United States 0

France 1 (Giroud 52-pen) Uruguay 0

© – AFP 2018

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