It was an international challenge match that caught the imagination of the Welsh fans, as Chris Coleman and his Wales squad returned to France, a country that had given them so many fabulous memories during the summer of 2016.
France 2-0 Wales
INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE MATCH
- Friday, 10 November 2017
- Stade de France, Paris
The match was billed as the perfect remedy for Wales’ disappointment of failing to qualify for the World Cup but France looked hungry for a positive result on home soil in front of 60,000 fans.
Wales were put under some considerable pressure early on at the Stade de France with Kylian Mbappe crashing a shot against the crossbar when he got on the end of Laurent Koscienly’s cross into the box after just 10 minutes.
The pressure told by the time the match had entered the 18th minute of play when Corentin Tolisso played a tidy through ball for Antoine Griezmann to left foot his strike past Wayne Hennessey. The Wales goalkeeper was left disappointed that he didn’t do more to deny the Atletico Madrid striker as the shot went under his arm.
After Wales settled, Aaron Ramsey played a forward pass into Neil Taylor’s run up the left wing. Taylor crossed into the box where Joe Ledley attempted to control the ball but appeared to be tripped. However, no penalty was given and the ball found its way to Chris Gunter on the far side of the 18-yard box, but his shot was comfortably saved by Steve Mandanda.
France made changes at half-time but remained comfortable on the ball in the second period and always looked the more dangerous team. Wales also made several changes just after the hour mark to introduce Ben Woodburn into the game and Coleman also handed senior debuts to Ethan Ampadu and David Brooks as he looked to prepare Wales for the future.
Ampadu, Brooks and Woodburn made an immediate impact as they all combined on a dangerous Wales attack. Somehow Mandala and the French defence kept the ball out from an Ampadu shot, a Ramsey’s flick and Gunter’s driven cross, which was beaten away by the French goalkeeper.
Wales looked a lot more threatening with the changes as the youngsters played without fear. However, following that promise, France struck against the run of play as Olivier Giroud’s deflected shot off James Chester beat Hennessey, who was left wrong-footed.
It could have got worse for Wales as France twice hit the post before the full-time whistle was blown as Samuel Umtiti and Benjamin Pavard struck the woodwork with excellent efforts.
The final goalscoring chance of the match fell to Woodburn as he got himself on the end of a searching ball forward into the French box. The young Liverpool striker was stretching for the ball and sent his shot over Mandala’s crossbar.
Following a tough test in Paris, Wales can now look forward to a home match on Tuesday, 14 November as they welcome Panama to Cardiff for a Vauxhall International Challenge Match. Tickets can be purchased at faw.cymru/tickets.