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June 1, 2014
• 3:00 PM
• Allianz Riviera, Nice
Referee: Carlos Clos Gomez
• Attendance: 35200
A. Griezmann 82'
V. Cáceres 89'
France will face Jamaica in their final warm-up game next Sunday before kicking off their World Cup campaign against Honduras in Porto Alegre on June 15. Didier Deschamps will submit his final 23-man squad tomorrow. Thanks for joining me, Max Bentley, on this live commentary. Until next time, goodbye.
As for Paraguay, Victor Genes will be delighted with the resolve of his youthful and experimental side. Though La Albirroja missed out on a fifth consecutive World Cup, the future does look bright with a number of the lesser experienced players impressing today.
Despite conceding late on, Didier Deschamps will be relatively pleased with the performance of his side. Giroud enjoyed a terrific game up front while Valbuena, Pogba and Matuidi were impressive in the midfield. On that display, you would certainly expect France to qualify from their World Cup group consisting of Ecuador, Honduras and Switzerland.
FT: France 1-1 Paraguay. Victor Caceres' late header denies Didier Deschamps' men a sixth consecutive victory on home soil. Antoine Griezmann broke La Albirroja's brave resistance with a well-placed shot eight minutes from time but a sloppy piece of defensive marking helped Paraguay to salvage a late draw.
90' + 4'
France are desperately searching for a late winner but Giroud is again denied as his header lands on the roof of the net following good work from Griezmann.
90' + 3'
Yellow Card A. Silva
90' + 3'
Gonzalez looks to snatch a late winner as he finds space on the edge of the France box. However, his shot is excellently anticipated by Koscielny who makes a good block.
90' + 2'
The French crowd jeer loudly as Silva takes his time over a goal kick. This will signal another good result for Paraguay following Thursday's victory over Cameroon.
Victor Genes makes a late substitution as Torales comes on to replace Oviedo. Can Paraguay hold on for the draw?
Assist J. Rojas
Goal Víctor Cáceres
CACERES MAKES IT 1-1! Paraguay expose France's high defensive line as Rojas delivers a teasing free kick towards the six-yard box. With no blue shirt in sight, Caceres ghosts in and glances a header into the turf which Lloris cannot keep out.
Yellow Card Paul Pogba
Benitez picks up a late booking for Paraguay after a late challenge on Pogba. The Juventus midfielder then gets retribution as he is cautioned for an aerial foul on Benitez.
Yellow Card Jorge Benitez
Paraguay nearly snatch a late equaliser as Caceres floats a dangerous cross towards the far post. However, Ortiz cannot make contact with the ball and France breathe a sigh of relief.
A grin breaks out on Deschamps' face as the crowd get behind their side following Griezmann's goal. It's been an impressive display from Les Bleus who look to make it six consecutive home wins without conceding.
Assist Laurent Koscielny
Goal Antoine Griezmann
GRIEZMANN GIVES FRANCE THE LEAD! Paraguay's brave resistance is finally broken as Giroud's header forces Silva into a smart save. Koscielny quickly seizes on the rebound and tees up Griezmann who curls a perfectly-placed shot into the far corner.
Giroud's link-up play has been superb today and he combines brilliantly with Sissoko to send the Newcastle midfielder clear down the right. Sissoko spots Griezmann at the back post but Caceres produces a vital last-ditch interception to turn the ball behind for a corner.
Paraguay continue to defend resolutely here as the clock ticks closer to full time. Didier Deschamps will be baffled at how his side have not scored today.
Ortiz goes down dramatically inside the penalty area after a spot of handbags with Pogba. The referee is not amused by the defender's antics however and tells him to get back to his feet.
Gonzalez has been touted as a future star by Victor Genes and the 20-year-old is given a chance to impress here as he replaces Romero for the final 13 minutes.
Victor Genes decides to make another substitution as Orue comes on for his third cap, replacing Cardozo.
Sagna once again gets forward brilliantly from right-back and he swings a dangerous cross towards the front post but Giroud can only head wide under pressure from Ortiz. That was almost telepathic from the Arsenal duo.
Valbuena receives a brilliant ovation from the France crowd as he is replaced by Sissoko. The Marseille man has become a key player under Deschamps and will be pivotal to their World Cup ambitions.
Caceres has taken the armband since Santa Cruz departed the field but he cannot give Paraguay the lead as he slices his shot wide of the target from outside the box.
Another change for Paraguay as Nunez comes on to replace Coronel.
Giroud has won everything in the air today and he again gets in between the two Paraguay centre-backs to meet Evra's cross before planting his header just over the bar.
Benitez almost gets his first international cap off to the dream start as he latches onto a loose ball on the edge of the box, firing a shot towards goal which deflects off Grenier and behind for a corner. The Paraguay players are appealing for a penalty but in fairness, Grenier's arms were down by his side.
Yellow Card Bacary Sagna
Sagna picks up France's second booking of the game after a clumsy challenge on Rojas.
Roque Santa Cruz
Victor Genes responds with a change of his own as Benitez comes on up front for his international debut, replacing the veteran Santa Cruz.
Didier Deschamps opts to make a double change as Griezmann and Grenier come on to replace Remy and Matuidi.
Remy has not seen as much of Silva's goal in this second half but he goes close to breaking the deadlock here as he meets Valbuena's cross with a firm header which Silva does well to catch.
Valbuena is starting to have more of an influence now and his pass is excellently flicked on by Giroud into the path of Matuidi. However, the PSG man's first touch is too heavy and Silva rushes off his line to deny him.
The statistics show that France have enjoyed 65% of the possession so far. Can they turn their dominance into a goal with half an hour to play?
Paraguay have looked vulnerable from set pieces today and Giroud meets Valbuena's corner with a firm header but it is straight at Silva who punches the ball away.
GOOD SAVE FROM SILVA! Valbuena produces a pinpoint cross to pick out Giroud in the box and the Arsenal striker rises excellently before directing a header towards the top corner which Silva does well to tip over.
Evra and Valbuena combine excellently to set up an attack for Les Bleus. However, it comes to nothing as Giroud's flick is easily intercepted by a Paraguay defender, much to the frustration of the home crowd.
Although the score line is still goalless, Deschamps will be pleased with how his side have dictated the tempo of this game. With Ribery, Griezmann and Benzema all on the bench, he is certainly not short of attacking options.
Yellow Card Fidencio Oviedo
Oviedo picks up Paraguay's first booking of the game after a mistimed challenge on Pogba who had evaded him with a brilliant piece of skill.
GOOD SAVE FROM LLORIS! Samudio powers a fierce shot through the France wall but Lloris reacts quickly to punch the ball to safety.
Evra's erratic positioning has been well documented this season and his willingness to get forward allows Rojas to spring a counter attack for the visitors. The substitute cuts the ball back towards the edge of the box for Caceres but he is denied a shot on goal as Sagna concedes a free kick for a poor challenge.
VALBUENA GOES CLOSE! France are dominating the second half and Giroud again combines well with Pogba to get clear down the right. The Arsenal striker clips a clever cross towards the back post for Valbuena but he can only nod his effort wide of the target, under pressure from Ortiz.
GIROUD HEADS WIDE! Matuidi plays a superb pass down the left wing for Remy to chase. The QPR attacker looks up and picks out Giroud at the near post but he cannot divert his header across goal as the ball flashes inches wide of the target.
Rio Antonio Mavuba
The teams re-emerge from the tunnel for the second half and it is France who get the game back underway. Didier Deschamps has made two changes with Mavuba and Mangala replacing Cabaye and Sakho.
HT: France 0-0 Paraguay. It's been an enjoyable first half at the Allianz Riviera as both sides head into the break level. France have dominated proceedings and Loic Remy will certainly feel that he should be on the scoresheet after spurning a number of decent opportunities. Paraguay have proved a good test for Didier Deschamps' men and Victor Genes will be pleased at how his younger and less experienced players have coped with the occasion.
SAKHO TO THE RESCUE! Santa Cruz is hoping to mark his 100th international cap with a goal but he is denied on the stroke of half-time as Sakho produces a perfectly-timed tackle to prevent him from getting his shot away in the box.
Victor Genes is forced to make an early change as Jorge Rojas replaces the injured David Mendieta.
SO CLOSE FOR MATUIDI! The PSG midfielder only has one international goal to his name so far and he spurns a good opportunity here as he capitalises upon a sloppy header from Cardozo before dragging a left-footed shot narrowly wide of the far post.
Valbuena was terrific in the 4-0 win over Norway but he has not yet shown the same cutting edge and industry that he showed in that match. He does deliver a teasing cross into the box on this occasion though, only to see it somehow evade the heads of Koscielny and Matuidi and run through for Silva to gratefully collect.
The referee is calling for a stretcher here as Mendieta goes down clutching his ankle following a 50:50 challenge with Evra. It seems unlikely that the midfielder will be able to continue.
Paraguay win a free kick in a dangerous position outside the box. However, Mendieta cannot test Lloris as his effort curls inches over the crossbar.
Remy has had a plethora of chances in this first half but another opportunity goes begging as he runs straight into the challenge of Ortiz when played through by Giroud. He needs to take one of these chances.
NEARLY A MAGICAL GOAL FROM REMY! Giroud is again the architect as he plucks a pass out of the air brilliantly before crossing for Remy in the middle. The QPR striker meets it with an acrobatic volley and watches on agonisingly as it flashes narrowly over the bar.
The volume inside the Allianz Riviera rises as Pogba collects Valbuena's pass on the edge of the box. However, he cannot produce one of his trademark strikes as he ghosts beyond Caceres before blazing a left-footed shot inches wide of the post.
CHANCE FOR PARAGUAY! La Albirroja nearly take the lead when Caceres' shot deflects off Sakho, forcing Lloris to adjust at the last moment and make an awkward save. Koscielny is on hand to ensure that there is no red shirt to turn in the rebound.
REMY SHOOTS WIDE! Giroud and Pogba combine superbly to tee up Remy on the left-corner of the box. The QPR man cuts inside the challenge of one defender but scuffs his shot disappointingly wide of the target.
There is an injury concern for Paraguay here as Mendieta goes down clutching his face after an innocuous-looking challenge from Remy. The 3 de Febrero midfielder should be able to continue.
Paraguay enjoy a rare attack when Mendieta bursts beyond Evra down the right. However, his cross is just too heavy for Santa Cruz who cannot divert the ball goalwards at the back post.
Moments after Cardozo produces a magnificent block to deny Giroud from giving France the lead, Silva is called into action as he makes a routine save to deny Matuidi's shot from the edge of the box.
Les Bleus are certainly in good form heading into this game - they have won each of their last five internationals on home soil, without conceding a single goal.
Yellow Card Olivier Giroud
Giroud picks up a needless booking for dissent.
FRANCE SHOULD BE AHEAD! Giroud and Remy have linked up well in the opening stages and the Arsenal striker cushions a header brilliantly into Remy's path, only to see the QPR man blaze his effort over the crossbar. He should be doing better there.
France are in the ascendency here, with both full-backs pushing on to support the attack. Didier Deschamps' men have been written off by many people as World Cup contenders but with so much quality and a good combination of youth and experience in this side, perhaps it is too early to rule them out just yet.
Evra produces a fine run to jink beyond three red shirts down the left-hand side but he is eventually fouled by Ortiz, who is fortunate to escape without a booking. Valbuena steps up to take the free kick but overhits his effort and watches the ball curl wide of the far post.
Remy is causing the Paraguay defence problems with his movement and that is allowing space for Giroud to drop deeper and collect the ball. Could we be seeing that partnership for Arsenal next season?
Sagna has been a willing runner down the right all season for Arsenal and he marauds forward from defence before picking out his club teammate Giroud in the middle. However, the striker's attempted flick towards Remy is well intercepted by a Paraguay defender before Remy then fires Valbuena's pass wide of the target.
The last time these two sides met was back in May 2008 when they played out a 0-0 friendly draw. However, France do have a good record against La Albirroja - Laurent Blanc's golden goal eliminated Paraguay from the 1998 World Cup while Just Fontaine bagged a hat trick when Les Bleus triumphed 7-3 in the 1958 World Cup.
Matuidi has started brightly here and he plays a superb one-two with Valbuena. However, the Marseille man is denied a shot on goal by a crucial interception by Ortiz who puts the ball behind for a corner. Valbuena whips the resulting set-piece into the box but it somehow misses Sakho's head in the middle.
CHANCE FOR FRANCE! Matuidi splits open the Paraguay defence with a neat pass into the right channel. Silva rushes out of his goal and Remy rounds him easily but cannot pick out a blue shirt in the box. It's been an exciting start at the Allianz Riviera.
GOOD DEFENDING FROM SAGNA! Coronel capitalises on an error by Cabaye to race down the right-hand side. He delivers a teasing cross into the box but Sagna reacts brilliantly to get across Romero and prevent the midfielder from giving the South Americans an early lead.
Paraguay's midweek win over Cameroon was only their second victory in their last ten matches. It's a very experimental side from Victor Genes tonight as he looks ahead to next year's Copa America.
Carlos Gomez blows his whistle and Paraguay, in their famous red and white striped shirts, get the game underway.
A fantastic rendition of the French national anthem follows with plenty of flags being waved in the stands. Spine-tingling stuff.
There is a terrific atmosphere at the Allianz Riviera as both sides emerge from the tunnel. The Paraguay national anthem echoes around the stadium, with captain Roque Santa Cruz leading the singing.
France will prove a difficult test for Victor Genes' side who missed out on a fifth consecutive World Cup after finishing bottom of the CONMEBOL qualifying group - with a disappointing 12 points from 16 matches. However, Paraguay did defeat Brazil-bound Cameroon 2-1 on Thursday thanks to goals from Santa Cruz and Romero.
There has been growing speculation in the French press today that Franck Ribery could miss the World Cup due to a back problem. However, the Bayern Munich winger is surprisingly on the bench this evening, seemingly allaying those injury fears.
PARAGUAY (4-5-1): Silva; Cardozo, Ortiz, Alonso, Coronel; Caceres, Oviedo, Samudio, Mendieta, Romero; Santa Cruz.
FRANCE (4-3-3): Lloris; Sagna, Sakho, Koscielny, Evra; Pogba, Cabaye, Matuidi; Valbuena, Remy, Giroud.
PARAGUAY TEAM NEWS: Malaga striker Roque Santa Cruz, who makes his 100th international appearance, is the only European-based player in La Albirroja's starting XI, with eight of the starters plying their trade in the domestic Paraguayan league. Anthony Silva takes the gloves while Cerro Porteno's 21-year-old defender Danilo Ortiz and 21-year-old midfielder Oscar Romero are given a chance to impress.
FRANCE TEAM NEWS: Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris returns to the starting line-up after Stephane Ruffier took the gloves for the 4-0 win over Norway. Raphael Varane and Karim Benzema linked up with the French party late after being involved in Real Madrid's Champions League final win and they both start on the bench, meaning Laurent Koscielny once again partners Mamadou Sakho in defence and Olivier Giroud leads the line up front. Bacary Sagna is handed the right-back slot while Loic Remy is given a chance to impress in attack.
France's World Cup preparations got off to the perfect start last weekend as goals from Paul Pogba, Olivier Giroud (2) and Loic Remy gave them a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Norway. Didier Deschamps' men face Ecuador in their final Group E game and fellow South American outfit Paraguay should provide a suitable test today. Les Bleus will also face Jamaica next Sunday in their final warm-up game before flying off to Brazil.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the international friendly between France and Paraguay where Didier Deschamps' side continue their preparations ahead of the World Cup. Les Bleus kick off their campaign against Honduras in a fortnight and they will be hoping for a promising performance today at the Allianz Riviera in Nice. I'm Max Bentley and I'll be keeping you updated with all of the action.
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