GUINGAMP, France (AP) — Kylian Mbappe saved world champion France’s blushes by creating one goal and scoring a late equalizer in the space of five minutes to salvage a 2-2 draw against Iceland in a friendly on Thursday.
Iceland was 2-0 up with five minutes left at the Roudourou stadium in Brittany and looked set to hand France its first loss since winning the World Cup in July.
But Mbappe, who went on as a substitute for the last half an hour, was the home team’s savior.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward helped to pull a goal back when he fired in from a tight angle and the ball took a deflection off Holmar Eyjolfsson to go in for an own goal in the 85th minute.
Mbappe then levelled with a penalty awarded for handball five minutes later.
“We reacted well after a bad start against a well organized team,” France coach Didier Deschamps said. “It’s good for Kylian, he brought his speed to us.”
Deschamps rested several regulars to keep them fit ahead of next week’s UEFA Nations League against Germany at the Stade de France.
Without Blaise Matuidi and N’Golo Kante, France were lacking in midfield, while Olivier Giroud was subdued up front.
Mbappe was meant to start the game but a minor thigh injury prompted Deschamps to leave him on the bench, allowing Giroud to partner Antoine Griezmann.
France lacked a cutting edge in the first half despite monopolizing possession.
Unmarked on the edge of the area, Paul Pogba fluffed a shot in the 17th minute. Griezmann also headed a cross from Lucas Digne just wide and Florian Thauvin fired a shot over from Ousmane Dembele’s precise pass.