Memorable Night: Antonio Griezmann & Samuel Umtiti Whip Italy 3-1, Pogba Dance

Les Bleus beat Ireland in rainy Paris earlier this week in an impressive showing – with Olivier Giroud and Liverpool target Nabil Fekir both notching.

Didier Deschamps’ men start their World Cup campaign on June 16 against Australia, before tackling Peru and Denmark.

Roberto Mancini’s side failed to qualify for Russia, the first time they didn’t qualify for a World Cup since 1958, but beat Saudi Arabia in a friendly on Monday night.

France: Lloris; Pavard, Rami, Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Tolisso, Kante, Pogba; Griezmann, Mbappe, Dembele

Italy: Sirigu; Zappacosta, Rugani, Bonucci, De Sciglio; Pellegrini, Cristante, Bonaventura; Chiesa, Balotelli, Insigne

The match isn’t being televised on UK TV, so there will be no stream, but you can follow all the action LIVE here with Mirror Football.

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Changes

There have been subs floating on and off during the second half.

Italy –

ON – Cristante, Insigne, FLorenzi, Bonaventura

OFF – Pellegrini, Berardi, D’Ambrosio, Jorginho

France –

ON – Mendy, Lemar, Giroud, Matuidi

OFF – Lucas, Dembele, Griezmann, Tolisso

(Image: REX/Shutterstock)

Pogba has hit the corner flag with a long range effort.

Very poor.

(Image: REUTERS)

Taking the L

So close from Cristante.

The midfielder arrives outside the box and scuffs a volley just past the post.

This could genuinely be any score.

Stat’s amazing

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@GracenoteLive

France score at least 3 goals against @azzurri for the 8th time. Only Austria also achieved this @equipedefrance

Bonucci goal in pics

(Image: REUTERS)
(Image: AFP)
(Image: AFP)

GOOOAAALLLLL

What a finish.

Mbappe over runs his counter attack.

But it falls to Dembele who bends over the keeper and into the top corner.

Impressive finish that.

France are happy to keep the ball, while Italy want to bound forward quickly.

Almost completely opposite to the stereotypes.

(Image: AFP)

At one end, Italy are piling on the players.

At the other, Mbappe is a slip away from getting on the scoresheet.

Breathless.

Unbelievably France can’t find the back of the net.

Tolisso the man to fire wide in the end.

But Pogba, Griezmann, Mbappe and Dembele all could have shot themselves.

So so close.

This is breathless.

Dembele counters from the Italy barrage and beats Sirigu.

Too high for the goal though as it crashes off the bar.

Just 15 seconds into the half and Balotelli goes close.

From the angle he fires towards goal.

It needs Lloris to block with his legs to kept it at 2-1.

From the corner Balotelli’s header is deflected away.

Bonucci should have done better with his header.

Underway again.

France lead 2-1.

Half time

France dominated that for over half an hour.

Not as much speed and force as against Ireland but still impressive.

But Bonucci’s goal quelled them somewhat.

Good game.

45+mins

Loads of pressure, but no killer touches from France in the last couple of moments.

2 minutes of additional time to play.

Griezmann goal in pics

(Image: AFP)
(Image: AFP)
(Image: REUTERS)

You can’t keep France down for long.

Mbappe makes a run into the box.

He cuts back but good defending stops a shooting chance.

That goal has rallied Italy.

They are pushing harder, but can’t force anything major.

France need to re group.

GOOOOOAALLLLL

No penalty, no bother.

The free kick is smashed at Lloris.

The Spurs man parries out and Bonucci slides in.

Game on.

Balotelli goes down.

Was it in or outside the box?

Looks just outside but VAR is having a look.

It has been an entertaining opening half and hour.

Not enough for the fans in the ground though, as a Maxican wave breaks out.

Italy seeing slightly more of the ball but can’t do anything with it.

(Image: Getty Images Europe)

GOOOAAAALLLLL

Griezmann converts.

Good quality penalty right into the bottom right of the goal.

Sirigu had no chance.

Penalty was stonewall, spot kick was clinical.

France cruising.

PENALTY FRANCE

Hernandez steams down the left.

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He is tripped by Mandragora and it is a stone wall.

Well after VAR agrees.

Mbappe really is special.

He just seems to pop up everywhere.

This time he’s hanging around the edge of the box and curls on goal bound.

It can’t quite hug the inside of the goal as it drifts wide.

Game is getting a tad scrappy.

Neither side can get a handle on it at the moment.

Mbappe has gone close to scoring himself.

But the keeper got down well at his near post.

(Image: REUTERS)

So close to 2-0 there.

Kante takes aim from 30 yards and absolutely pings it against the post.

Really well hit that.

He’s only got one previous international goal.

Umtiti goal in pics

(Image: AFP)
(Image: AFP)
(Image: AFP)
(Image: AFP)

First time to see Italy as an attacking force.

Chiesa jinx down the left but his cross is poor.

Then after wining a free kick in a dangerous position, Balotelli pings into the wall.

Disappointing.

France are unstoppable.

They are strangling Italy deep in their own half with a press.

Once they have the ball they only want to keep it, waiting patiently until the chance presents itself.

I for one cannot wait for them to get to the business end in Russia.

GOOOAAAALLL

Umtiti puts France ahead.

Really good second phase from a Griezmann free kick.

Pavard curls a ball into the box, Mbappe squares for Umtiti to tap into an open goal.

Easy.

4mins

When in possession, this French side are glamorous.

Truly beautiful even when the passes are going nowhere, as they have been in this one.

Girigu was forced off his line but he comfortably reached the ball ahead of the speeding Dembele

Couple of bits of housekeeping first…

1) A small remote control car brought the ball on before kick off, and 2) France are inexplicably playing in their away kit in France.

Now that is out of the way…

France had the first attack but Pavard over hit the cross.

Ever since Italy have passed the ball around with ease.

Off.

We.

Go.

France get the ball rolling.

Applause

Almost kick off.

But first we are having a minute’s applause for Roger Piantoni.

The former France and Nice man died earlier this week aged 86.

Players on the pitch

The players have emerged from the dressing room and are on the way to the pitch.

Next up time for the national anthems.

Two absolute belters – probably the best in the world.

Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe is crying out to be this World Cup’s sensation.

The PSG winger was unreal against Ireland earlier this week and is on the the brink of greatness.

What can he do tonight?

(Image: AFP)

Griezmann going through his paces

France warm up

(Image: AFP)
(Image: AFP)

Inside the Italy dressing room

(Image: Getty Images Europe)
(Image: Getty Images Europe)
(Image: Getty Images Europe)

Balotelli in the house

He scored on his return from the international wilderness…

…what can he conjure up this evening?

(Image: REUTERS)

France team news

Italy team news

How’s stat

OptaJean

@OptaJean

4 – Antoine Griezmann has failed to score in his last four games with France, his longest drought since November 2014 – September 2015 (7). Wake ?

TEAM NEWS

France: Lloris; Pavard, Rami, Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Tolisso, Kante, Pogba; Griezmann, Mbappe, Dembele

Italy: Sirigu; Zappacosta, Rugani, Bonucci, De Sciglio; Pellegrini, Cristante, Bonaventura; Chiesa, Balotelli, Insigne

France arrive

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France dressing room

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Paul Pogba urged to step up and ‘be a leader’ ahead of France’s World Cup challenge in Russia

Paul Pogba has been urged to step up and become “a leader” by France team-mate Hugo Lloris.

In a challenge Jose Mourinho would no doubt echo, Lloris claims Pogba needs to accept more responsibility on the pitch.

The Tottenham goalkeeper says the midfielder is mature and experienced enough at 25 to become a more-influential figure.

Mourinho has become frustrated by Pogba’s inconsistency and the France star is yet to become the dominant figure at Manchester United that he hoped he would be.

Although Pogba scored six goals last season and contributed 11 assists, Mourinho wants more from the £89.3million signing, who was the world’s most-expensive player when United bought him from Juventus in 2016.

Their relationship has become strained and Pep Guardiola revealed Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola had offered him to him in January.

Mourinho dropped Pogba in February and March because he was unhappy with his form before the former Juventus star delivered a strong end to the season with United.

Lloris claims France also want more from him at this summer’s World Cup after he disappointed in the Euro 2016 Final when Les Bleus lost to Portugal.

“Paul is no longer a young player,” said Lloris. “He has collected experience with his club and with the national team.

“He has this desire to shine with the French national team. Will he be the boss? That’s a strong word, but a leader is what is expected of him on and off the field.”

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