France defeated Bulgaria 3-0 with a goal from Antoine Griezmann and a double from Olivier Giroud in their last preparatory friendly but was shocked by the 5,000 spectators who finally returned to the stands of the Stade de France in Saint-Denis.
A week after his debut in the European Championship (on June 15 against Germany in Munich), Karim Benzema retired before the break after suffering a blow to the right thigh, just above the knee, just as he finished a ball with his head and the alarms went off in the ‘bleu’ team, although Didier Deschamps reassured him by ensuring that the Real Madrid striker was replaced as a precaution and does not suffer any injuries.
Just a change in Deschamps’ eleven
Deschamps lined up the same eleven last Wednesday against Wales with the only change from N’Golo Kanté, who came in instead of Adrien Rabiot. As then, the great attraction was seeing Benzema in action in his second game after five and a half years of absence from the French team, along with Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé.
And the golden trident didn’t disappoint this time, either. From the first moment, the three of them moved fluently and connected again and again, generating continuous chances. Benzema had the first after receiving from Mbappé but his cross shot went slightly off (11 ‘).
The trident, very active and with occasions
A minute later Griezmann teamed up with Mbappé, whose attempt from the center of the area was diverted to a corner by Daniel Naumov. Griezmann started another action by the three musketeers and Mbappé, after a wall with Benzema, crashed again at the Bulgarian goal (27 ‘).
And shortly after came the 1-0 in the most confusing play of all, since the ball came in after two rebounds. First Mbappé’s shot was deflected by Ivan Turitsov, the ball reached Griezmann, who scored after a spectacular Chilean … that Ivailo Chochev involuntarily deflected to the net. It is his 37th as an international and equals his best series of three consecutive games scoring with the ‘bleus’.
After half an hour, Benzema retired injured, but Mbappé and Griezmann continued to do their thing. Before the break, the PSG crack left the Barça player alone, who saw how Naumov avoided his double with the tips of his fingers (40 ‘).
In the second half, France continued to play fluently, appealing to his parish, and Mbappé had several occasions to extend the score, one of them assisted by Osumane Dembélé, who in 66 ‘entered through his teammate Griezmann. Former Blue Lucas Digne, who came into half-time, also tested Naumov with a whiplash.
Bulgarian scare and Giroud sentence
Bulgaria did not disturb Hugo Lloris except in the 79th minute, when Birsent Karagaren received only in the area but crossed excessively in an unbeatable position. France had been slow to close the match but finally did so with a double from Olivier Giroud, who had replaced Benzema. The Chelsea striker made it 2-0 by pushing a cross from Benjamin Pavard to the near post (83 ‘) and closed the scoring at pleasure after an assist from Wissam Ben Yedder in a counter (90’).
A luxury substitute for his 34 years, Giroud has 46 goals for France and is just five from Thierry Henry’s record.