March 23, 2018 / 11:02 PM / 9 months ago

Soccer - France lose composure in 3-2 defeat to Colombia

SAINT-DENIS, France (Reuters) - France threw away a two-goal lead as they slumped to a 3-2 home defeat to Colombia in a friendly at the Stade de France on Friday, less than three months before the World Cup.

Soccer Football - International Friendly - France vs Colombia - Stade De France, Saint-Denis, France - March 23, 2018 France’s Paul Pogba shakes hands with Colombia’s Yerry Mina after the match REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Les Bleus were 2-0 up midway through the first half thanks to goals by Olivier Giroud and Thomas Lemar, but Luis Muriel halved the deficit before the break with Radamel Falcao and Juan Quintero scoring in the second half.

Before kickoff, there was a minute’s silence in memory of the three people who were killed in southwestern France by a gunman who held up a car, fired on police and seized hostages in a supermarket earlier on Friday.

France started with N’Golo Kante and Blaise Matuidi as holding midfielders, Paul Pogba being left on the bench because of a muscle problem and a lack of playing time at Manchester United, according to assistant coach Guy Stephan.

Pogba, however, came on as a second half substitute but had little impact.

Les Bleus enjoyed most of the possession and they were rewarded in the 11th minute when Giroud scored his 30th international goal as he knocked the ball in after David Ospina mishandled Lucas Digne’s cross from the left.

It was Giroud’s ninth goal in the last nine games he started for France.

Lemar made it 2-0 in the 26th from inside the box after being set up by his former Monaco team mate Kylian Mbappe, who had collected a fine back heel by Antoine Griezmann.

But France lacked focus and two minutes later, Hugo Lloris misjudged Muriel’s cross, which found the back of the net at the far post.

The visitors were more active in the second half and Falcao beat Lloris in the 62nd minute as he latched onto a cross from James Rodriguez.

Colombia sealed the win five minutes from time when Quintero converted a penalty after a Samuel Umtiti foul in the box.

France next face World Cup hosts Russia in St Petersburg on Tuesday, while Colombia take on Australia.

Editing by Christian Radnedge

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