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Player Ratings: France 4-2 Russia

France won their second international friendly in five days, beating Russia 4-2 at the Stade de France, the first time Les Bleus returned to the Paris stadium since the November 13th terror attacks. We take a look at how the French fared individually.

Hugo Lloris – 6

Similarly to Steve Mandanda on Friday night, a frustrating evening for the Tottenham goalkeeper who had very little to do but still conceded two goals. Both of those efforts, incidentally the only two attempts on target that Russia had throughout the entire encounter, he could have done nothing about.

Patrice Evra – 6

Defensively remained solid against admittedly weak offensive opposition down his left-hand flank. However, going forward, Evra struggled slightly in terms of combining with Martial and failed to offer much before being taken off at half-time.

Mamadou Sakho – 5

Pretty invisible throughout the encounter, which is not necessarily a bad trait for a defender. However, he did not dominate aerially as much as he might have liked, even if no glaring mistakes were made by the Frenchman.

Raphael Varane – 5

Struggled a little to build the same level of understanding that he has with Koscielny with Sakho last night. Was more directly involved with Russia’s lone striker, Dziouba, and dominated him throughout the 90 minutes. The Real Madrid man could perhaps be blamed on Russia’s second goal for being a little slow to react.

Bacary Sagna – 4.5

The Manchester City full-back was principally at fault for Russia’s second goal, allowing Chatov to take him out of the game at that moment in time. Did however combine fairly well with Griezmann and produced a couple of dangerous crosses of note.

Lassana Diarra – 6.5

The Marseille man had an excellent game in the main, succeeding in getting himself out of any sticky situations with neat footwork, even if against better opposition he probably would have been caught out, holding the ball for too long too often. Showed great vision and variety of pass and in the main dominated the defensive midfield area.

Paul Pogba –  6

Involved in N’Golo Kanté’s goal, Pogba produced his usual moments of magic, but was for the majority of the encounter too imprecise with his passing and in some cases his attempts to beat players.

N’Golo Kanté – 7

One of France’s two birthday boys on the night, the Leicester man scored a gutsy goal from a move that he initiated with his first shot for France, on his first start for Les Bleus. Kanté’s play was symbolic of his performances for Leicester this season, an intense, relentless pressing without the ball and a desire to push forward with it.

Antoine Griezmann – 8

Frankly pulled the strings for France again, supplying the two assists for France’s goals in the 1st half. Combined well with the midfield troika and excellently with the overlapping full-back in the form of Sagna. Vivacious and omnipresent, Griezmann has surely nailed down his starting spot for EURO 2016.

Anthony Martial – 5.5

Effectively marked out of the game by the Russians who quickly identified the Manchester United man, perhaps incorrectly, as France’s main attacking threat. Was less dangerous with his dribbles than against the Netherlands and not decisive enough with his passing.

André Pierre Gignac – 6.5

Got a well-taken goal with a diving header from an Antoine Griezmann free-kick and generally posed more of a threat from goalscoring positions than Olivier Giroud did against the Netherlands. What works against Gignac however is the Arsenal man’s ability to bring other individuals into a passage of play, something that the Tigres striker struggled with.

Substitutes:

Jérémy Mathieu – N/A

The Barcelona defender came on at left-back for Patrice Evra but was only on the field for eight minutes before coming off with a knee injury that is likely to keep him out of action for around a month.

Lucas Digne – 4.5

Another game for France, another disappointing performance from the on-loan AS Roma man, who was principally at fault for Russia’s first goal, failing to pick up Kokorin who simply brushed past him to score a header from a free-kick. Was also fairly inadequate going forward.

Dimitri Payet – 7

Scored a simply delectable free-kick with his first touch of the game after coming on around the hour mark. From 30 yards out, Payet got an amazing amount of curl on the ball, leaving the Russian goalkeeper helpless. Perhaps had less of an impact in open play than against the Netherlands, but reaffirmed his quality and why he must be in the EURO 2016 squad.

Kingsley Coman – 7

The Bayern Munich teenager will remember last night for his special goal and France’s fourth of the evening, coaxing the Russian goalkeeper out into the far left-hand corner of his own box before dazzling him with footwork and then finishing emphatically with his left-foot from a tight angle. Another potent and potentially crucial impact substitute that Deschamps should make at his disposal for EURO 2016.

Moussa Sissoko – 5

Innocuous after replacing Paul Pogba, the Newcastle man, should he be picked for this summer’s tournament, will simply play the stop-gap role as a versatile midfielder and attacker. Showed nothing to suggest that he deserves to be near the starting XI last night.

Olivier Giroud – N/A

A.N.

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