Soccer: Unconvincing displays from France and Spain in final friendlies

MADRID (Reuters) – World Cup hopefuls France salvaged a late 1-1 draw against the United States in their final friendly before the tournament, while fellow title favorites Spain also needed a lategoal as they edged past Tunisia 1-0.

Soccer Football – International Friendly – France vs USA – Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France – June 9, 2018 France’s Kylian Mbappe in action REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot

Elsewhere, there were wins for finalists Serbia, Denmark, Morocco and Australia, while Sweden were held to a goalless draw by Peru.

Didier Deschamps named a strong side as he sought to put the finishing touches to his preparations before traveling to Russia. However, Julian Green took advantage of a Djibril Sidibe slip to fire a near post effort past Hugo Lloris on the stroke of halftime to give the visitors a shock lead.

Soccer Football – International Friendly – France vs USA – Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France – June 9, 2018 France’s Djibril Sidibe in action with USA’s Bobby Wood REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot

U.S., who did not qualify for Russia, looked as if they would hold onto their advantage until Kylian Mbappe spared Deschamps’s blushes 12 minutes from time.

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There remains plenty of unanswered questions for Les Bleus heading into next weekend’s opener against Australia, who beat Hungary 2-1 earlier on Saturday.

Elsewhere, fellow Group C members Denmark recorded a 2-0 win over fellow finalists Mexico thanks to strikes from Yussuf Poulsen and Christian Eriksen, while Peru played out a stalemate with Sweden, who will also be in Russia.

It appeared as if it would be as equally a frustrating night for 2010 champions Spain as they struggled to break down a Tunisia side who caused them difficulties on the counter attack.

Former Liverpool forward Iago Aspas swept in after good work from Diego Costa six minutes from the end to secure the win and ensure coach Julen Lopetegui remains undefeated in his first 20 games in charge.

Their Group B rivals Morocco resoundingly brushed past Estonia 3-1, while Serbia hammered Bolivia 5-1. Newcastle United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic hit a hat-trick and former Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic netted a stunning volley in the rout.

Editing by Christian Radnedge

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