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Ireland outclassed in Paris as France ease to victory after first half double

France 2 Ireland 0

Soccer Football - International Friendly - France vs Republic of Ireland - Stade de France, Paris, France - May 28, 2018 France’s Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Soccer Football - International Friendly - France vs Republic of Ireland - Stade de France, Paris, France - May 28, 2018 France’s Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Ireland were outclassed from start to finish in what was an utterly convincing win for France as they ramp up preparations for the World Cup.

First half goals from Oliver Giroud and Nabil Fakir were enough for the hosts to stroll to a routine victory at a torrential Stade de France.

Declan Rice was the leading light in what was otherwise a disappointing night for Martin O'Neill's side. Colin Doyle won't want to see a replay of his howler for Fekir's goal.

The manager handed a debut to Derrick Williams from the start, while Shaun Williams and Shamrock Rovers' Graham Burke also won their first caps.

Ireland couldn't get near France as they dominated possession. They almost went ahead as early as the second minute when Djibril Sidibe nicked the ball from James McClean, who was caught flat footed, and Kylian Mbappe sent a curling effort just wide of Colin Doyle's post.

It was warning sign after just two minutes, and just after the quarter hour mark, Mbappe had another shot on goal, but this time it was well off target.

McClean's nervy start very nearly cost Ireland again shortly after. This time he caught Blaise Matuidi with a poor challenge on the edge of his own area, and from the resulting free, Nabil Fekir bent the ball around the wall, but fortunately for the visitors, particularly McClean, it went wide of the post as well.

France were dominating and they went close again when Man City defender Benjamin Mendy arrowed a shot straight at Doyle, who beat it away.

Sidibe was next to go close but Ireland's keeper was equal to his stinging drive. Doyle was rooted to the spot barely a minute later however, as Oliver Giroud flashed a header just wide.

Ireland were struggling to deal with the onslaught and they really should have fallen behind eight minutes before the break when Corentin Tolisso rattled the post with Doyle beaten all ends up.

But two minutes later, France got their deserved breakthrough.

Ireland failed to deal with Fekir's corner and Giroud eventually bundled the ball home from close range, despite the best efforts of Doyle and Seamus Coleman on the line.

There was still time left in the half for France to double their advantage as Doyle's howler gifted Fekir a goal.

The keeper had his own Lorius Karius moment as he failed to get his body behind the speculative shot which sloppily slipped through his grasp for a 2-0 lead at the break.

France almost made it three five minutes after the restart but this time Doyle got down well to save Giroud's effort.

Blaise Matuidi should have done better with a header inside the box but instead he aimed straight at Doyle who gathered gratefully.

Ireland eventually had a shot on goal through McClean late on but it went well wide, which summed up Ireland's struggles. Burke came closest with a late shot that was saved, but that was as good as it got on what was a tough night at the office.

France – Mandanda; Mendy (Hernandez 63), Umtiti (Kimpembe 63), Rami, Sidibe (Pavard 83); Matuidi (capt), Nzonzi, Tolisso (Pogba 76); Mbappe (Dembele 76), Giroud, Fekir (Griezmann 63)

Ireland – Doyle; Coleman (capt), Long (Williams 79), Duffy, Williams (Doherty 81); Browne (Arter 59), Rice; McClean, O'Dowda (Judge 69), Walters (Meyler 59); Long (Burke 69).

REF: G Kabakov (Bulgaria)

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