France 3-2 Chile: Mbappe matches Henry record in comeback victory

By Sports Desk March 26, 2024

France got back to winning ways as they came from behind to beat Chile 3-2 at Stade Velodrome.

Les Bleus endured a poor start for the second time in as many games, falling behind after just six minutes in Marseille through Marcelino Nunez's finish.

However, they turned the contest on its head before half-time with Youssouf Fofana equalising and Randal Kolo Muani heading them in front.

Olivier Giroud ultimately got the winner for Didier Deschamps' side who, despite Dario Osorio's late strike, completed their Euro 2024 preparations with a ninth victory in 12 games since their 2022 World Cup final defeat to Argentina.

France, who conceded after just seven seconds against Germany on Saturday, were punished for another slow start as a neat one-two down the right flank enabled Mauricio Isla to pull the ball back for Nunez to drive home.

Despite losing Jonathan Clauss and Eduardo Camavinga to injury during the first half, Les Bleus responded well and levelled in the 19th minute when Kylian Mbappe teed up Fofana, who found the net from 20 yards via a slight Igor Lichnovsky deflection.

Mbappe went close himself before the hosts turned matters around when Kolo Muani rose to head home Theo Hernandez’s deep cross.

However, France survived scares either side of the break with Eduardo Vargas twice failing to hit the target from inside the six-yard box, heading against the post with his second attempt.

The hosts capitalised on their good fortune to go 3-1 up in the 72nd minute. Kolo Muani turned provider with a wonderful jinking run into the area from the right wing, before pulling the ball back for Giroud to sweep in his record-extending 57th international goal.

Chile threatened a dramatic fightback when Osorio drilled home eight minutes from time, and it took William Saliba's superb last-ditch sliding challenge to deny Ben Brereton Diaz an equaliser right at the death.

Mbappe moves level with Henry to lead France revival 

Deschamps' team had not suffered successive defeats since June 2015, though it looked a possibility when they fell behind in the sixth minute.

But the revival began when Mbappe set up Fofana, who continued his fine scoring streak with his third international goal in four appearances.

Although Mbappe did not find the net himself, he still managed to achieve yet another milestone courtesy of his 27th assist for Les Blues, moving him joint-second with Thierry Henry on France's all-time list, he now has Antoine Griezmann's record of 30 in sight.

The skipper could well surpass that at Euro 2024, where France will be among the favourites when they launch their quest for a third title against Austria in Group D on June 17.

Chile's rapid start proves academic on Sanchez's record-breaking night

Having begun Ricardo Gareca's reign with a morale-boosting 3-0 victory over the in-form Albania, Chile built on that momentum with their fast start this time around.

Nunez's strike after just five minutes and 12 seconds was their quickest goal since Alexis Sanchez found the net one second earlier against Germany in the 2017 Confederations Cup.

Speaking of Sanchez, the Inter forward enjoyed a momentous night, as he surpassed Gary Medel to become Chile's most-capped player.

One of three players to feature in his nation's last meeting with France in August 2011 – along with Claudio Bravo and Mauricio Isla – it was quite fitting that his landmark 162nd appearance came at the home of Marseille, for whom he scored 18 goals in 44 games last season.

Chile now switch focus to their forthcoming Copa America campaign, which begins against Gareca's former employers Peru on June 22.

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