Mbappe to the double as France beat World Cup hosts Russia 3-1 in friendly

Kylian Mbappe scored twice and Paul Pogba netted a brilliant free-kick as France beat World Cup hosts Russia 3-1 in a friendly at Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.

Mbappe’s impressive double and Pogba’s strike helped the 1998 world champions bounce back from Friday’s 3-2 home defeat by Colombia, while Fedor Smolov’s goal for Russia proved to be only a consolation.

The French could have scored more, particularly Anthony Martial, who failed to convert good chances in the first half, while defender Vladimir Granat missed an open goal for Russia at a corner.

With two and a half months until Russia opens the World Cup against Saudi Arabia in Moscow, the team has not won any of its last five games. It has taken a series of injury blows this year, with defenders Georgy Dzhikiya and Viktor Vasin, as well as forward Alexander Kokorin, all unlikely to return in time for the World Cup.

The game was preceded by a minute’s silence to remember the 64 people, including 41 children, who were killed in a fire at a Siberian shopping centre on Sunday.


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