International friendly: Lacazette on target in France victory over Denmark
Saint-Atienne, France: Alexandre Lacazette scored his first international goal to set France on the way to a 2-0 friendly victory over Denmark in Saint-Etienne on Sunday evening.
France's forward Alexandre Lacazette celebrates after scoring a goal during a friendly football match between France and Denmark at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne. Pic/AFP
The Lyon striker set the ball rolling in the 14th minute and Arsenal's Olivier Giroud added another before half-time as Les Bleus bounced back from their 3-1 defeat to Brazil at the Stade de France last Thursday. Coach Didier Deschamps made eight changes to his starting line-up from that game, with Raphael Varane, Morgan Schneiderlin and Antoine Griezmann the only players to keep their places.
Young Real Madrid defender Varane wore the captain's armband in the continued absence of the injured Hugo Lloris, while Saint-Etienne's Stephane Ruffier was handed a start in goal in front of his home fans. The bitter rivalry between Saint-Etienne and Lyon ensured that the crowd at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard gave Lacazette and his OL teammate Christophe Jallet a hostile reception, but the former overcame that to open the scoring.
When Griezmann's effort was blocked by Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, Lacazette -- the leading scorer in Ligue 1 this season with 23 goals -- lashed home the loose ball to open his international account on his sixth cap. The Euro 2016 hosts continued to press and Dimitri Payet curled a shot just wide before the second goal arrived seven minutes prior to the interval.
Monaco midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia drove towards the Danish penalty area and set up Giroud -- with 37 caps the most experienced member of the French starting line-up -- to beat Schmeichel with a low left-foot finish. That was the end of the scoring, although the visitors should have equalised just before the break, but Nicklas Bendtner, who netted a hat-trick in last week's friendly win against the United States, headed against the right post from close range.
Christian Eriksen saw his long-range effort saved by Ruffier in the second half as the goalkeeper marked a rare international start with a clean sheet. France are next in action on June 7 when they host Belgium at the Stade de France before travelling to Albania six days later. Denmark currently sit second in Euro 2016 qualifying Group I behind Portugal halfway through the campaign, with their next match at home to Serbia in June.