French whizz-kid Camavinga off the mark in Ukraine thrashing

France's Eduardo Camavinga in action with Ukraine's Evgeniy Makarenko at the Stade de France, Paris October 7, 2020. — Reuters pic
France's Eduardo Camavinga in action with Ukraine's Evgeniy Makarenko at the Stade de France, Paris October 7, 2020. — Reuters pic

PARIS, Oct 8 — World champions France beat Ukraine 7-1 in a friendly at the Stade de France on Wednesday with new kid on the block Eduardo Camavinga and veteran Olivier Giroud doing much of the damage.

The 17-year-old Camavinga put himself on the map becoming the youngest man to score for France in over a century with an audacious overhead flick for the ninth minute opener.

Didier Deschamps made Giroud captain for the evening and in return the Chelsea forward scored a first-half brace with a curling shot on 24 minutes and an opportunist header ten minutes later.

An own goal from Ukraine’s Vitaliy Mykolenko made it 4-0 at half time as Andrey Shevchenko’s side looked brave but bedraggled.

On in the second half superstar Kylian Mbappe was a blur of action as his 82nd minute strike was the pick of the evening after he came off the bench.

Bayern Munich’s Corentin Tolisso and Barcelona striker Antoine Griezmann were also on the mark with fine strikes. 

Giroud edges Platini

The two goals make the often derided Giroud France’s second highest ever scorer, as he edged level and then past Michel Platini.

“Well that’s two more in the bag and it was already quite a significant haul wasn’t it,” said Deschamps, who has persisted with Giroud over the years when France seemed to be coming down with top strikers.

He now has 42, just nine short of Thierry Henry on 51.

“I’ll just carry on and see how far it goes,” said Giroud, 34.

Rennes starlet Camavinga will be 18 on November 10, and is the youngest France scorer since Maurice Gastiger who was 17 in March 1914 and scored in a 2-2 draw with the Swiss.

In a cavernous Stade de France with 1,000 fans allowed inside because of Covid-19 restrictions, Ukraine’s team had been so ravaged by injury and the virus they included a 45-year-old coach as second ‘keeper for the night.

France now play European champions Portugal in Paris on Sunday e and then take on their World Cup final victims Croatia next Wednesday in Zagreb, both matches in the Nations League. — AFP

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