France 2 - 2 Iceland: France strike twice late on to rescue draw against Iceland



Posted Friday, October 12, 2018 by PA

France 2 - 2 Iceland: France strike twice late on to rescue draw against Iceland

World champions France rescued themselves from an embarrassing defeat by Iceland with two goals in the last five minutes, including a last-gasp penalty from substitute Kylian Mbappe, to secure a 2-2 friendly draw at the Stade du Roudourou in Guingamp.

Iceland had been out of form and regularly conceding goals, and against opponents who had followed winning the World Cup in July by taking four points from Uefa Nations League fixtures against Germany and Holland, were expected to lose convincingly.

Instead, goals either side of half-time from Birkir Bjarnason and Kari Arnason put them on course for a stunning victory which, despite being in a friendly, would have been up there with the win over England at Euro 2016 as one of the finest in their history.

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 the £135.5million Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele.

As they fought to recover, Dimitri Payet, Thomas Lemar and Mbappe were among those introduced from the bench, after which an 86th-minute own goal by Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson was followed by Mbappe’s late leveller.

Iceland had taken the lead in the 30th minute, shortly after Dembele had gone close for the hosts, through Bjarnason.

With France’s Presnel Kimpembe stricken on the ground having been hit by the ball, the visitors’ Alfred Finnbogason angled possession back to Bjanarson, who shot beyond Lloris.

In the 58th minute the in-form Gylfi Sigurdsson crossed from a corner to Arnason, who headed from close range into the top right corner.

It was the influential Mbappe, who came on in the 60th minute for Griezmann, who ultimately inspired their comeback and made the difference.

Taking advantage of a shooting opportunity in the 86th minute, he watched as substitute goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson saved his effort before it then bounced off of the statuesque Eyjolfsson and into the net.

When Kolbeinn Sigthorsson conceded a 90th-minute penalty for handball, Mbappe this time made sure he got on the scoresheet, converting the spotkick with a right-footed strike into the top left corner.

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