LYON: France and Spain – just like Germany on Friday – were further favoured World Cup finalists who struggled in their concluding warm-up games before the tournament opens in Moscow on Thursday.
World Cup holders Germany stuttered to a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia and then the French only just rescued a 1-1 draw against the United States in Lyon while 2010 world champions Spain also needed a late goal to beat fellow finalists Tunisia 1-0.
France coach Didier Deschamps named a strong side as he sought to put the finishing touches to his preparations before travelling to Russia. However, Julian Green took advantage of a Djibril Sidibe slip to fire a near-post effort past Hugo Lloris on the stroke of halftime to give the visitors a shock lead.
The US, who did not qualify for Russia, looked as if they would hold on to their advantage until Kylian Mbappe spared Deschamps’s blushes 12 minutes from time.
Deschamps said: “It’s always better to win but it is a match for preparation. We were lacking a bit of juice. We had trouble in the first 20 minutes of the second period but in the end we took over.
“I’ve played as many players as I can in all three warm-up games and that teaches you. I hope everyone will be physically ready and I’ll be spoiled for choice come the first game.”
Les Bleus open up next week against Australia, who beat Hungary 2-1 earlier on Saturday.
Spain as well as they struggled to break down a Tunisia side who caused them difficulties on the counter attack.
Former Liverpool forward Iago Aspas swept in after good work from Diego Costa six minutes from the end to secure the win and ensure coach Julen Lopetegui remains undefeated in his first 20 games in charge.
Their Group B rivals Morocco brushed past Estonia 3-1, while Serbia thumped Bolivia 5-1 with a hat-trick from Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Denmark also recorded a 2-0 win over fellow finalists Mexico thanks to strikes from Yussuf Poulsen and Christian Eriksen, while Peru played out a goalless draw with Sweden.