Kylian Mbappe cameo helps France avoid shock Iceland defeat

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Kylian Mbappe’s late penalty rescued a draw for France against Iceland.

GUINGAMP, October 12: Kylian Mbappe inspired a fightback from world champions France as they rallied from two goals down at home to earn a 2-2 draw with Iceland on Thursday.
Birkir Bjarnason swept Iceland ahead from the edge of the area on 30 minutes, and Kari Arnason’s excellent second-half header doubled their lead in Guingamp.
But Mbappe, brought on as a substitute for the final half-hour, gave France a lifeline when his shot was saved and then inadvertently turned in by Iceland defender Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward levelled from the penalty spot in the 90th minute after Kolbeinn Sigthorsson handled at a corner.
“The team saw we needed to do something else. I bring what I can do,” Mbappe said.
“We saw the fans were completely behind us even if it wasn’t a big stadium. We wanted to do everything for the people who were there.”
“We got the draw, we didn’t lose, but we’re still a bit annoyed.”
France coach Didier Deschamps fielded six of the players that began the World Cup final against Croatia, handing in-form Marseille winger Florian Thauvin his first start as Mbappe was left on the bench.
Iceland were beaten 5-2 by France in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, and new coach Erik Hamren’s reign had started disastrously with two heavy defeats to open their Nations League campaign.
But the Nordic nation with a population of around 350,000 stunned the hosts in Brittany as Aston Villa midfielder Bjarnason beat Hugo Lloris with a low strike after Alfred Finnbogason stole the ball from Presnel Kimpembe.
Ousmane Dembele was denied an equaliser by a terrific block from Iceland goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson, while Lloris
pulled off a stunning save from Ragnar Sigurdsson before keeping out follow-up efforts by Bjarnason and Finnbogason.
A searing Thauvin strike fizzed just over the crossbar early in the second half, with an Antoine Griezmann header also turned behind by Runarsson.
Arnason connected superbly at a corner, heading in via the underside of the bar, as Iceland surged two goals clear on 58 minutes and on course for a first win since beating Kosovo 2-0 last October. (AFP)