International Friendly: France 1 Paraguay 1

Antoine Griezmann's first international goal was not enough for France as they were held 1-1 by Paraguay on Sunday.

The Real Sociedad forward, winning only his third cap, looked to have secured a fourth successive victory for France with an 82nd-minute strike in Nice.

However, there was still time for Paraguay to level through a header from captain Victor Caceres, denying Didier Deschamps' men another success ahead of the FIFA World Cup.

Deschamps, who was still without the injured Franck Ribery, watched on as Loic Remy wasted good opportunities in the opening half.

Chances continued to flow in the second period and France though they had won it when Griezmann curled home a shot that may have taken a slight deflection on its way to goal.

Caceres had other ideas, though, and got in front of his marker in the 89th minute to glance a header past Hugo Lloris from a free-kick.

The hosts started with plenty of energy, the front three of Remy, Olivier Giroud and Mathieu Valbuena all keen to run at the Paraguay defence with the ball at their feet.

Remy's first sight of goal came as early as the fourth minute but it was a neat link-up with Giroud in the 18th minute that nearly brought a first-half opener.

The Arsenal striker met a high ball into the penalty area and cushioned a header into the path of Remy, but his strike partner was unable to control a volley from 12 yards.

Paul Pogba shone in midfield for France as they dominated proceedings, and the 21-year-old sent two low shots fizzing wide of Antony Silva's goal.

At the other end, Lloris was rarely tested and when Paraguay did play balls into the penalty area, the France goalkeeper dealt with them well.

Lloris also began a move just after the half-hour mark that led to another chance for Remy.

The keeper's ball found Giroud on the right and, after beating two defenders, the striker played a cross into Remy, whose acrobatic effort flew agonisingly wide.

Paraguay started the second half with renewed impetus and brought the first save of note out of Lloris after Bacary Sagna had brought down Caceres, the Tottenham keeper getting down well to save Miguel Samudio's free-kick.

That was enough of a wake-up call to bring France back to life and Silva was again on hand to deny Giroud on two occasions from accurate Valbuena crosses.

With time running out France, who sorely missed Ribery's creativity, continued to apply pressure and were finally rewarded as Griezmann fired home after Silva had saved well from Giroud.

However, the hosts were denied victory when Caceres met Jorge Rojas' cross, although Lloris may feel he could have done better.

France will now hope for positive news regarding Ribery, who is a reported doubt for the World Cup as he continues to battle a back problem.


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