MX23RW : Tuesday, February 19 09:44:14
Jun 1, 2018 at 8pm UK
Umtiti (8'), Griezmann (29' pen.), Dembele (63')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Bonucci (36')

Result: France overcome Italy in Nice

France continue their preparations for the 2018 World Cup with an impressive 3-1 win over Italy in Nice.

France continued their preparations for the 2018 World Cup with an impressive 3-1 win over Italy in Nice on Friday night.

Samuel Umtiti, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele were all on the scoresheet for a France team who will face United States this weekend before opening their World Cup group campaign against Australia on June 16.

France's Antoine Griezmann celebrates scoring their second goal against Italy in a friendly on June 1, 2018© Reuters

Hugo Lloris, N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Griezmann and Dembele were among those to come into the France XI following Monday's win over Republic of Ireland.

As for World Cup absentees Italy, Mario Balotelli kept his spot in the starting XI following his goal against Saudi Arabia, but Federico Chiesa, who is currently being strongly linked with a move away from Fiorentina, was handed a starting role in a forward position.

France started well, and the hosts made the breakthrough in the eighth minute of the contest when Umtiti fired home from close range after Italy goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu had made a smart save to deny Kylian Mbappe.

Balotelli was the player making things happen for Italy, and the former Manchester City and Liverpool forward fired over the France crossbar in the 17th minute following smart work in the final third.

France continued to threaten, however, as Kante struck the Italy post with a long-range effort in the 20th minute, before Mbappe brought a smart save from Sirigu moments later.

Mbappe then curled one just wide of the post in the 26th minute as the Paris Saint-Germain attacker continued to dazzle.

France scored their second in the 29th minute when Griezmann converted from the penalty spot. VAR was checked when Lucas Hernandez went down under a challenge from Italy midfielder Rolando Mandragora, but the decision stood, and Griezmann found the back of the net with a smart finish.

Italy were back in the match in the 36th minute, however, when experienced centre-back Leonardo Bonucci registered from close range after Balotelli's powerful free kick was parried by France goalkeeper Lloris.

Balotelli came close to levelling the scores early in the second period when he struck a powerful effort towards goal, but Lloris was on hand to make a smart save.

Dembele then rattled the crossbar down the other end as both teams came close in the early stages of the second half.

Chiesa was next to try his luck for Italy as the Fiorentina attacker brought a save from Lloris in the 50th minute, before Corentin Tolisso just missed the Italy post with a powerful strike in the period that followed.

France had their third in the 63rd minute, however, when Dembele found the top corner of the net with a curling effort.

Balotelli headed over the home side's crossbar in the 67th minute as Italy came close to scoring a second, before Bryan Cristante missed Lloris's goal 20 minutes from time.

Balotelli then fired over once again in the 75th minute as the striker continued to impress in Nice, before Sirigu kept out a close-range Florian Thauvin effort five minutes from time.

Next up for Italy is a friendly with Netherlands on Monday night, while France take on United States next Saturday in their final game before the World Cup begins.

FRANCE (4-3-3): Lloris; Pavard, Rami, Umtiti, Hernandez (Mendy 62'); Tolisso (Matuidi 77'), Kante, Pogba (N'Zonzi 87'); Mbappe (Thauvin 83'), Griezmann (Giroud 77'), Dembele (Lemar 71')

ITALY (4-3-3): Sirigu; D'Ambrosio (Florenzi 74'), Bonucci, Caldara, De Sciglio; Pellegrini (Cristante 65'), Jorginho (Bonaventura 78'), Mandragora; Chiesa (Zappacosta 88'), Balotelli (Belotti 86'), Berardi (Insigne 74')

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Manchester United winger Anthony Martial in action during the Europa League clash with Saint-Etienne at Old Trafford on February 16, 2017
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