Paul Pogba plays 67 minutes in Iceland friendly
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 11/10/18 10:46pm
Kylian Mbappe came to France’s late rescue on Thursday, while Argentina cruised without Lionel Messi.
Mbappe converted a last-minute penalty to salvage a 2-2 draw with Iceland and save the world champions from an embarrassing home defeat in Guingamp.
Iceland led 2-0 with just four minutes remaining courtesy of Birkir Bjarnason’s low finish from outside the box (30) and Kari Arnason’s header (58).
But Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson’s own goal four minutes from time gave France hope and after Kolbeinn Sigthorsson had been adjudged to have handled, Mbappe converted from the spot in the 90th minute.
Key figures Hugo Lloris, Raphael Varane, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud had all started for the near-full-strength hosts, in addition to the recalled Lucas Digne and Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele.
But it was the influential Mbappe, who came on in the 60th minute for Griezmann, who ultimately inspired their comeback and made the difference.
Over in Riyadh, Argentina continued their recovery from a disappointing World Cup campaign with a convincing 4-0 friendly victory over Iraq.
Caretaker head coach Lionel Scaloni had already led them to a win victory over Guatemala and draw with Colombia, and in the Super Clasico tournament that also involves Saudi Arabia and long-term rivals Brazil, he oversaw another encouraging performance.
In the absence of Lionel Messi – still to confirm if he will continue playing for his country – Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria, goals from debutants Lautaro Martinez and German Pezzella, and Roberto Pereyra and Franco Cervi rewarded their dominance.
Martinez’s came in the 18th minute, when he met a fine, left-wing cross from Marcos Acuna to head in from six yards.
Paulo Dybala had just threatened to double their lead when, in the 53rd minute, he created a chance for Pereyra. After beating two defenders he found his team-mate, who then routinely finished into the bottom corner.
Victory already felt secure when, in the 83rd minute, Scaloni’s team scored again. From Cervi’s corner, Eduardo Salvio nodded on to Pezella, who in turn headed beyond Iraq goalkeeper Jalal Hassan Hachim.
Cervi scored Argentina’s fourth and final goal in the second minute of second-half stoppage time.
In another high-profile friendly, Spain produced a Cardiff masterclass to stun Wales and send a warning shot to Nations League rivals England.
Luis Enrique’s stylish side strolled to a 4-1 victory on a night when Wales returned to the 74,500-capacity Principality Stadium for the first time in seven and a half years.
Paco Alcacer, with a brace, and Sergio Ramos scored inside 29 minutes before substitute Marc Bartra added a fourth with a towering second-half header.
Sam Vokes headed a consolation a minute from time but it was a sobering evening for Ryan Giggs’ men ahead of their Nations League game against the Republic of Ireland.
Elsewhere, Turkey were held to a goalless draw by Bosnia & Herzegovina in Rize and United Arab Emirates drew 1-1 against Honduras in Barcelona.
Asian Cup 2019 hosts UAE took the lead through Omar Abdulrahman at the Olympic Stadium, but Romello Quioto fired a first-half equaliser.