Opponent Watch: France cruise over Italy

France maintained their impressive form ahead of their opening FIFA World Cup match against the Caltex Socceroos, overcoming Italy 3-1 in Nice on Saturday morning (AEST).

Coach Didier Deschamps put out a strong line-up for Les Blues, including Hugo Lloris in goal and the likes of Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe.

The French took an early lead when defender Samuel Umtiti bundled in a rebound, after Mbappe’s back-post effort was kept out by keeper Salvatore Sirigu.  

The home side was playing with speed, confidence and vitality and doubled the lead before the half-hour mark.

Left-back Lucas Hernandez was brought down in the area, with Griezmann dispatching the penalty past Sirigu.

Italy pulled one back before the break through defender Leonardo Bonucci before Dembele made the result safe just after the hour mark.

After hitting the crossbar earlier in the match, Dembele fine-tuned his radar and would not be denied with his next effort, picking up the pieces after Mattia Caldara halted Mbappe's run to find Sirigu's top-left corner.

It was an eye-catching display from Deschamps men who always seemed in control, dominating possession 57% to 43%, although the Italians did fire-off more shots at goal (15-12).

With wins over Ireland and now Italy, France will look to make it a clean sweep of pre-FIFA World Cup friendly wins when they face the United States in their final hitout next weekend.

N'Golo Kante up against Italy's Mario Balotelli.


The Caltex Socceroos weren’t the only team from Group C in Austria on Friday, with Peru also in the country preparing for their next pre-FIFA World Cup friendly.

The South Americans are also spending a couple of days in the country, hitting the training pitch around the same time the Caltex Socceroos were beating the Czech Republic 4-0 in St Polten.

Striker Paolo Guerrero, who had his drugs ban lifted for a second time earlier this week, joined the squad on the training pitch as he looks to prove his fitness for Russia.

After beating Scotland 2-0 in Lima a few days ago, Peru next takes on Saudi Arabia at the AGF Arena in St Gallen, Switzerland on June 4.