A late Aurelien Tchouameni goal grabbed a 2-1 win for France against Ivory Coast in Marseille.
The two teams faced off at the Velodrome in Marseille as the French Football Federation used the opportunity to take the national team on tour.
For Didier Deschamps, RB Leipzig striker Christoph Nkunku was given his debut while he was joined by a recalled Olivier Giroud, making his first appearance since the Euro 2020 finals.
For Ivory Coast, they called up Nicolas Pepe to support Wilfried Zaha and Sebastien Haller, with Pepe’s fine strike enough to beat Hugo Lloris midway through the first half, but Giroud’s header quickly cancelled out any advantage.
In the second half, Ghislain Konan brought a good early stop from Lloris, and Serge Aurier did the same just before the hour mark.
Arsenal defender William Saliba – on loan to Marseille – came on in the second half to huge cheers.
Both managers then threw on a succession of subs in order to make the most of the friendly ahead of more significant games to come, and with a draw looking certain, young Monaco midfielder Tchouameni headed in a dramatic, late winner.
Ivory Coast will now travel to England for another friendly on Tuesday, while France will face South Africa on the same evening.
TALKING POINT – DESCHAMPS RIGHT TO RETURN TO GIROUD
With Wissam Ben Yedder only trusted for a few minutes on the south coast, it was time for Olivier Giroud to make his return to the national team.
The veteran has been counted out so many times but he keeps coming back, and keeps scoring. It is hard to believe now that he won’t remain a fixture in the national team until he finally retires.
With his experience and always improving technique, if he can stay fit for the next few years, he could maybe even see the next World Cup. It might feel somewhat underwhelming and concerning that the French manager has to keep returning to the 35-year-old, but they should instead start appreciating what they have in the AC Milan man.
MAN OF THE MATCH – THEO HERNANDEZ (FRANCE)
It’s another AC Milan player who is the standout performer. While Giroud grabbed the equaliser, the wing-back provided the assist, and was a constant threat down the left while being able to help out his brother Lucas when the pressure was on.
France: Lloris 7, Varane 6, Kounde 6, Hernandez L 6, Coman 6, Hernandez T 7, Pogba 6, Tchouameni 7, Griezmann 6, Giroud 7, Nkunku 6. Subs: Saliba 6, Guendouzi 7, Ben Yedder 6, Clauss 6, Rabiot 6.
Ivory Coast: Sangare B 6, Konan 6, Bailly 6, Boly 6, Aurier 6, Seri 6, Kessie 6, Sangare I 6, Pepe 7, Zaha 5, Haller 5. Subs: Kossounou 6, Akouokou 6, Cornet 6, Gradel 6, Konate 6.
19’ – GOAL! FRANCE 0-1 IVORY COAST – PEPE SCORES – Nicolas Pepe puts the away side ahead. He is slipped in just over the halfway line, he kinks one way and then the left, away from the Hernandez brothers, and he drills in a slow shot to beat Lloris at the near post.
22 – GOAL! FRANCE 1-1 IVORY COAST – GIROUD SCORES – Giroud moves four short of Henry’s international scoring record. Theo Hernandez blasts a shot at goal, which is well stopped, but comes back for the AC Milan wing-back to find his club team-mate, and he nods in at the back post.
25 – GIROUD CHANCE – Hernandez again, pulls the back this time for Giroud but the Frenchman’s shot is quickly blocked.
57’ – AURIER STRIKE – The former Spurs full-back rifles a shot towards the top corner and it has Lloris at full stretch for him to force the ball behind for a corner.
63’ – HUGE CHANCE – Griezmann slides to connect with a cross from the left, but just 10 yards out and Sangare pushes it away with a firm wrist.
90+2’ – GOAL! FRANCE 2-1 IVORY COAST – TCHOUAMENI SCORES – From Guendouzi’s corner, Tchouameni pops up to power home a header to almost certainly win the game.