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Colombia Come Back from 2 Goals Down to Beat France in 2018 Friendly

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 23, 2018

France's Antoine Griezmann, left, challenges for the ball with Colombia's Frank Fabra during a friendly soccer match between France and Colombia, at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, outside Paris, France, Friday March 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Francois Mori/Associated Press

Colombia devastated France in front of a home crowd on Friday as they thundered back from two goals down to win their friendly fixture 3-2 at the Stade de France following late penalty drama in Saint-Denis. 

Juan Quintero's 85th-minute spot-kick finished a three-goal turnaround for the Colombians, who also netted through Luis Muriel and Radamel Falcao after Olivier Giroud and Thomas Lemar put the hosts two goals ahead.

France's 2018 FIFA World Cup preparations will hardly benefit from the loss in front of a home crowd, and manager Didier Deschamps will be seeking an instant response when they face Russia in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

The evening started positively enough for France when, after only 11 minutes, Lemar unleashed full-back Lucas Digne down the left, flashing a dangerous enough ball across the face of goal for Giroud to convert a landmark finish:

B/R Football @brfootball

Olivier Giroud joins the French elite 🇫🇷 https://t.co/6xbpPYi7jb

Giroud's 30th goal for Les Bleus put him in the esteemed company of former French forwards like Just Fontaine and Jean-Pierre Papin—both of whom retired on exactly that number of goals.

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The home nation weren't bombarding Colombia's goal—guarded by Arsenal stopper David Ospina, who was somewhat at fault for France's first—but Deschamps' side looked ever threatening when they did choose to pounce.

Lemar got on the finishing end of France's next great chance and converted a team manoeuvre the likes of which any team would be proud of.

A lightning counter ended with Antoine Griezmann back-heeling to Kylian Mbappe with a sublime touch from the edge of the box, and his ball found scorer Lemar as football writer Carl Worswick detailed Colombia's demise:

Carl Worswick @cworswick

GOL! France 2-0 Colombia. Fabra loses the ball bursting forward and France rip through Colombia with frighteningly quick movement. Lemar with the finish and Colombia are getting completely outclassed.

Except Muriel lifted their spirits almost instantly when his attempted cross from the left missed sliding centre-back Davinson Sanchez and bamboozled France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to bobble straight in at the back post.

Colombia cut a more imposing figure in attack after half-time and were making a conscious effort to drive the ball up to their attackers more swiftly than the first period, paying off just after the hour mark.

Mateus Uribe beat N'Golo Kante for possession in midfield, sizzling the ball to a speeding James Rodriguez inside the French area, and Falcao would have found it harder to not score from his precise cut-back inside.

Sports writer Luke Thomas highlighted the difference in Colombia's response as the game wore on:

Luke Thomas @lthomasnews

Totally different second half. James assist to Falcao goal. France 2, Colombia 2.

France's capitulation could have been worse, too, had Muriel not missed several glaring opportunities to either score or make a goal for the likes of Falcao, but France helped seal their own fate in any case.

Samuel Umtiti hacked down Colombian substitute Jose Izquierdo with five minutes of normal time left, and Worswick later told the story of how spot-kick duties were diplomatically decided inside the visitors' camp:

Carl Worswick @cworswick

Colombian broadcast showing that Duvan was originally going to take the penalty until Quintero, standing half his size, snatches the ball off him. After a brief discussion Pekeman gives Quintero the nod to take it and he makes no mistake.

Quintero's only other international goal came at the 2014 World Cup against the Ivory Coast, and irrespective of Friday's fixture being a friendly, his strike will have only boosted his chances of making this summer's cut with manager Jose Pekerman.

Colombia leave Paris with heads high and hopes even higher for what they might accomplish in Russia later this year, while uncertainty seeps into the French squad following a disappointing night for Deschamps and Co.

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