Four days after securing a 2-1 victory against Sweden in a 2018 World Cup qualifying match, France took on Ivory Coast in a friendly exhibition match. This was the first time in over ten years that these two countries were meeting for a friendly. Last time they met, France won 3-0. The match ended in a draw with both sides failing to score a goal.
France managed to have 67 percent of ball control along with ten shots total with three on goal, and four saves.
France was without Antoine Griezmann who was sitting due to a foot injury he sustained against Sweden. It’s not considered to be serious. Key starters Hugo Lloris, Blaise Matuidi, and Patrice Evra did not start in this game. Since this was just a friendly exhibition, France manager Didier Deschamps decided to go with some younger talents to give allow them to gain more experience. Great strategy by Deschamps to rest several starters. In his case, there’s no need to risk injuries on a game that doesn’t have much meaning to it.
Adrien Rabiot made his debut for the national team. He played a majority of the game until the 78th minute when he appeared to have sustained a hamstring injury. He would be replaced by Thomas Lemar, who was also making his national team debut. Rabiot played well enough to be considered an addition to the squad for the 2018 tournament in Russia.
France will pick up their journey to Russia on the 25th of March when they will take on Luxembourg. By then, the team should be rested, healed, and improved. France is currently on top of their group with ten points. Luxembourg is at the very bottom of the group, so France shouldn’t have any difficulties. Paul Pogba will be forced to miss the next qualifier due to a yellow card he received in the game against Sweden. It is unclear when his replacement will be announced.