October 2018
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France look convincing in win over Italy
(Nice, June 02, 2018):France prevailed 3-1 over Italy here in the hosts' penultimate international friendly before heading to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Facing an Italian side that is rebuilding after failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years, the French looked solid overall in front of the roughly 35,000 spectators at Nice's Allianz stadium on Friday evening, reports Efe news agency.

After giving his subs plenty of minutes in Monday's contest against Ireland, France coach Didier Deschamps fielded a squad very much like the one expected to start in Russia, led on offence by Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe with N'Golo Kante presiding in midfield and Samuel Umtiti anchoring the back line.

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele, meanwhile, made his bid for a starting position with a burst of individual brilliance in the second half.

France jumped to a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute thanks to a goal by Umtiti, who slotted in a loose ball after a fine save by Italy goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.

France continued to press and when Italy's Rolando Mandragora fouled Lucas Hernandez, the referee pointed to the spot and Griezmann converted to make it 2-0 in the 29th minute.

Italy pulled one back seven minutes later, as Leonardo Bonucci exploited a poor clearance by French keeper Hugo Lloris following a Mario Balotelli free kick.

The visitors were better after the break and France saw their dominance in possession evaporate.

But individual chances turned out to be enough for Dembele to seal the victory with a strike in the 63rd minute that brought the crowd to its feet.

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