France 2 Republic of Ireland 0: Dominant win for Deschamps' men
Olivier Giroud and Nabil Fekir found the net as France beat Republic of Ireland 2-0 in a pre-World Cup friendly.

France kicked off their run of World Cup warm-up fixtures with a show of dominance in a 2-0 victory over Republic of Ireland in Paris on Monday.

Olivier Giroud and Nabil Fekir scored as the hosts eased to a comfortable win in their first match since Didier Deschamps named his 23-man squad for Russia.

Giroud's 40th-minute opener came after France had completely controlled the early stages, before a mistake by goalkeeper Colin Doyle played a part in Nabil Fekir's second.

Ireland, meanwhile, never came close to threatening to make a game of it on their first visit to the Stade de France since Thierry Henry's infamous handball memorably led to their defeat in a qualifying play-off for the 2010 World Cup.

Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba were among the players left out of the starting XI by Deschamps, but this is a France side with tremendous depth and they controlled the match from kick-off, with Kylian Mbappe curling an effort just around the right-hand post after only three minutes.

James McClean will have made Deschamps wince with a heavy challenge on Blaise Matuidi on the edge of the box in the 21st minute, but France's captain for the night escaped unharmed.

Doyle got down well to his left to keep out a Giroud drive after half an hour, before Corentin Tolisso hit the post from distance with the goalkeeper beaten.

The ball had barely left the Irish half, so it was no surprise when Giroud netted the opener five minutes from half-time, prodding the ball home after his header was blocked on the line – a strike that pulls him level with Zinedine Zidane on 31 international goals.

Zidane – in his capacity as Real Madrid head coach – was the beneficiary of a pair of goalkeeping howlers as his side beat Liverpool in the Champions League final on Saturday, and whatever mental lapse afflicted Loris Karius in Kiev appeared to have migrated west to Paris as Doyle made an error to gift France their second.

Diving to his left in a bid to punch clear Fekir's shot from 18 yards, the Bradford City keeper did not get the desired contact and saw the ball deflect off his hands and over him into the net.

Article continues below

Doyle went some way to redeeming himself with a strong hand to keep out Giroud shortly after the interval, before Matuidi directed a stooping header straight at the former Birmingham City stopper.

Ireland head coach Martin O'Neill will not have welcomed the site of Griezmann taking to the field in the 64th minute but the Atletico Madrid striker could not add to the French haul, as a torrential downpour arrived over the stadium.

The only frustration for Deschamps will be that his side could not put more past their impotent visitors.

Comments ()