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France breathes sigh of relief after beating Chile in friendly

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Olivier Giroud was among the scorers as France recovered from the loss of another early goal to claim a 3-2 friendly win over Chile at the Vélodrome in Marseille on Tuesday.

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The Euro 2024 favourites were left reeling after conceding just eight seconds into their game against Germany in Lyon last weekend, which they went on to lose 2-0.

This time they fell behind within six minutes to a Marcelino Núñez strike, but came roaring back with goals from Youssouf Fofana, Randal Kolo Muani and Giroud, before Dario Osorio grabbed a second for Chile late on.

The result will ease some of the doubts which had surrounded the French team following their flat performance against Germany, as they prepare for the European Championship in June and July.

However, this was far from a first-choice French side, with captain Kylian Mbappé and midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni the only players to be retained in the starting line-up as coach Didier Deschamps made nine changes.

Among those to come in were the Marseille right-back Jonathan Clauss and the Real Madrid midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, both of whom were forced off injured in the first half in scenes that will worry their respective clubs.

France appeared at risk of losing consecutive games for the first time since June 2015 as they fell behind early on to a Chile team getting ready for the Copa America.

Núñez of Norwich City swept in the opening goal for a Chilean team playing their second game under new Argentinian coach Ricardo Gareca. Clauss then pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury and had to hobble off, but France drew level on 18 minutes.

Early fears

Skipper Mbappé, winning his 77th cap seven years and one day after making his France debut, laid the ball back to Fofana, and the Monaco midfielder found the net with a shot from just outside the box that took a slight deflection on its way in.

The 2022 World Cup runners-up then went ahead on 25 minutes when Paris Saint-Germain forward Kolo Muani rose to head in a cross by Theo Hernández.

Camavinga came off just before the break, and France then got their third goal on 72 minutes as Kolo Muani did superbly on the right before cutting the ball back for Giroud to score.

It was a 57th international goal for the 37-year-old Giroud, who is France’s all-time leading marksman.

Chile got another one back late on thanks to a fine strike low into the far corner by Osorio, as they build up to the Copa America in the USA in June, in which they will face holders Argentina, Peru and Canada in the group phase.

(AFP)

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