SubstitutionAntoine GriezmannNabil Fekir
SubstitutionMoussa SissokoGeoffrey Kondogbia
Willian is freed on the run down the same left-hand channel which Neymar scored from earlier in this half. He tries to repeat the trick, but his low stinger is pushed away by Mandanda.
Hard to see France emerging from this one now. They must be ruing that spell around the hour mark where they wasted three perfectly scoreable chances. Brazil look hungry for more.
Goal Luiz Gustavo
BRAZIL OPEN UP A CUSHION! From a corner, Gustavo takes full advantage of some lax French marking to rise and plant a header into the back of the net via the ground!
Neymar draws two defenders to him on the edge of the box, and brings Oscar into play, teeing up the Chelsea man for a shot which Mandanda turns around the post with both hands!
Some great French pressure since they went behind, but also a catalog of misses. Willian, as he is wont to do, retreats into a defensive position to help the Selecao navigate this tough Bleus spell.
Somehow, Sissoko evades a challenge down the right and hooks a stinger of a ball in all with the same touch. Evra goes to attack it on Jefferson’s blindside, but Luis is there to make the crucial header.
Griezmann makes another excellent run through the centre, which takes him past two players. He has a crack from distance, and it needs a touch from Jefferson to help it over the bar!
MONUMENTAL MISS! The cross comes in from the left, with Valbuena beating his man and cooking a tasty delivery to the back post. Benzema attacks with a side-footed volley, but he misses the target! That should have been in for 2-2!
ANOTHER CHANCE! Sissoko gets the ball in a gilt-edged position on the left side of the box, but he takes too long to shape his body to curl into the far corner. That allows Jefferson to make himself bug and block the effort!
SO CLOSE TO A LEVELER! A free kick is touched inadvertently touched by Silva towards the back post, and Varane nearly pounces in that spot to convert the equalizing goal!
Two replay-worthy goals from Brazil in this game, and I don’t think that we’re done with the scoring. France are back on the ball, looking to cause danger down at the other end.
NEYMAR SENDS BRAZIL IN FRONT SPECTACULARLY! Willian rides past an Evra challenge and threads in Neymar on the left side of the box. The Barca man takes a touch before smashing an unstoppable finish high into the net!
Willian hooks a corner to the back post, where Elias wins the initial header. Silva tries to slide in and convert the loose ball at the back post, but he can’t make contact with the ball.
Gustavo threads a pass into Danilo on the overlap down the right. He squeezes in a curling low cross, that needs a sliding challenge from Sakho to get rid of the danger.
Willian tries to thread a pass through on the bounce for Firmino to chase, but the Hoffenheim man can’t squeeze between Jefferson and Miranda, allowing the keeper to get a hold of the ball.
Griezmann is starting to see more of the ball, and races into an inch of space to play one forward for Benzema. However, the Real Madrid forward is challenged and can’t get a shot away.
Valbuena spots Benzema peeling away to the back post and tries to be clever with a curler, but Jefferson always had that one read. Good start to the second half from France.
Here we go again.
• And that does it for the first half. Brazil and France are deadlocked at a goal apiece. An entertaining match, it has to be said, even without a glut of goalscoring chances. France took the lead through Varane’s header, but Brazil responded via a well-worked goal from Oscar. it’s finely poised for the second half so do stay tuned.
• 45′ + 1′
Sometimes, the speed of the Brazil attack has surprised even their own players. I’ve seen a few instances of the pass coming into an area where a Brazilian player has not yet arrived.
The ball movement from Brazil has just had more purpose about it. France have defended well, it has to be said, but they surely don’t want this trend to continue into the second half.
A goal apiece is a fair reflection of how this game has gone. Mostly tight, sprinkled with occasional quality. It’s been two teams fighting their hardest, even though the end product hasn’t always been there.
Assist Roberto Firmino
BRAZIL TIE IT UP! Oscar muscles off his man at the top of the box and rolls the ball to Firmino. Continuing his run, he collects the return pass from the Hoffenheim man and squeezes a finish home!
France are hunting in packs for the ball and are doing a good job of rushing Brazil into some unwanted passes. However, les Bleus’s out-ball on the counter has been too speculative too often.
Questionable decision from Miranda, who admittedly did have Valbuena on his back but still opts to pass out for a corner too early. Jefferson was wide open to collect the back pass.
Great tempo and atmosphere to this contest now, with end-to-end action at the moment. The players are starting to take risks on the ball and we could be in for more chances before the end of the half.
Mandanda isn’t entirely convincing from a corner, as he gets to the ball first but fails to clear it outside of his own penalty area. However, Brazil can’t profit from that briefest of spills.
MANDANDA CALLED INTO ACTION! Neymar faces up to a defender then drops the ball off for Firmino. The Bundesliga man takes aim from 25 yards and arrows for the bottom corner, but the keeper takes the sting off the effort.
Thiago Silva had to be in the right place at the right time to intercept a dangerous Matuidi cross. France have had a few good runs from their deeper midfield players, and that time, they made the right decision at the end of the move.
Speculative and rather hopeless from Elias, who took aim from 30 yards and sliced it high and wide. We may see more of that from Brazil if France keep a deep line and force the visitors’ runners in front of them.
Valbuena’s no Zidane, but the diminutive playmaker is keen to be the heartbeat of the home side’s attack. He’s demanding the ball at every turn, and with some power behind him in the shape of Matuidi, Schneiderlin and Sissoko to take care of the dirty work, France would do well to get it to him.
Les Bleus strike first, and that has gotten the fans re-invested in this game. And what a header that was from Varane, who sent Miranda and one of his own teammates crashing during his powerful run up! Valbuena came up big with the corner delivery as well.
Assist Mathieu Valbuena
Goal Raphaël Varane
FRANCE HAVE TAKEN THE LEAD! A chance at one end goes begging, and within moments, there’s a goal down at the other! From a corner, Varane rises highest to pummel a header into the net! Nothing Jefferson could do!
MANDANDA TESTED! Oscar slips in Neymar at breakneck speed, and the Barcelona forward tries to guide a low finish into the far side. The France keeper pushes it away, but almost not far enough with Firmino very close to latching onto that rebound!
Still goalless here, and we haven’t had much to cheer since that Benzema chance. Even the crowd seem a bit deflated and reactionary, falling prey to the monotony of the game.
Brazil are looking better and better on the ball. They’re starting to force the issue in the final third, and France are the ones playing on the counter attack now. Sissoko tries to escape down the centre and does well to hold off the initial pressure, but his pass forward is easily intercepted.
I would be excited to see this Brazil attacking lineup figure it out. Oscar, Willian, Firmino and Neymar all have pace to burn and can beat their man almost at will. You can see what Dunga was thinking.
Every time Brazil try to break, they end up coughing up the ball in midfield. France are reading their passing intentions well but it has to be said that the South Americans have looked very disjointed.
Benzema hasn’t always been the most beloved figure among les Bleus faithful, thanks to a few baffling performances in the national shirt. He’d not want that last miss to dent his confidence at all.
THAT IS A MASSIVE SAVE! Two players go up for the corner, and it rebounds kindly for Benzema almost on the goalline and completely unmarked. His header seems destined to be 1-0 but Jefferson, falling back into the goal, pushes it away! Sensational!
Valbuena clips in a tantalizing delivery to the back post, where Evra is lurking. Danilo spots the danger and takes no chances, heading out for a corner. Still defending for the Selecao to deal with…
It will be interesting to see the Brazil situation up front. You wouldn’t call either Neymar or Firmino a genuine centre-forward, and my guess is they’ll take turns adopting a false 9 role. Dunga has clearly set up his attack to kill with their pace.
Didier Deschamps and Dunga were both wearing the armbands on the pitch when these sides did battle in the ’98 World Cup final. And today, some 17 years later, they lead their teams from the dugout. Uncanny.
Here we go!
• We also have a minute’s silence for the victims of the airbus crash in the French Alps on Tuesday.
• Just before we kick off, there’s a standing ovation as Thierry Henry, Zinedine Zidane, Marcel Desailly and Patrick Vieira, heroes of that 1998 tournament, make their way onto the pitch for a tribute.
• Thiago Silva returns to the international set up, but his partner for club and country, David Luiz, is missing with an injury, giving Atletico Madrid’s Miranda a chance to shine. Roberto Firmino also gets an opportunity in the attacking midfield three, alongside Oscar and Willian, with Neymar popping up just ahead of them.
• Nabil Fekir, who opted to represent France over Algeria, may make his international debut off the bench for the hosts. Karim Benzema captains and leads the line for les Bleus, flanked by Antoine Griezmann and Mathieu Valbuena. Hugo Lloris is injured, so Steve Mandanda will line up between the posts.
• Brazil (4-2-3-1): Jefferson; Danilo, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Filipe Luis; Gustavo, Elias; Willian, Oscar, Firmino; Neymar.
• France (4-3-3): Mandanda; Sagna, Varane, Sakho, Evra; Sissoko, Schneiderlin, Matuidi; Valbuena, Benzema, Griezmann.
• One can still taste the memory of the 1998 World Cup final which took place inside this stadium. What a monumental night that was, with career-defining moments for two of the greatest players ever; Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo. The former of course struck the double that led les Bleus to a 3-0 victory. The latter, meanwhile, suffered a fit just before the final, which blunted his performance. That was especially significant because Ronaldo had been the player of the tournament until that point and was widely regarded as the finest footballer on the planet.
• Brazil will of course be busy with the Copa America this summer – their first real step to redemption after the debacle that was their World Cup exit to Germany at the semi-final stage. Dunga’s men have started to put things right with a succession of friendly wins since that tournament, but tonight is easily one of their biggest tests since the Nationalmannschaft.
• France will be hosting Euro 2016, and are not set to play any competitive matches until the beginning of that tournament. Therefore, fixtures like these carry extra spice for an expectant French public who have seen their team underwhelm in recent international tournaments.
• Hello, and welcome to our live coverage of the friendly clash between France and Brazil at Stade de France in Paris. It’s always a special occasion when these two rivals get together, with some significant history behind this encounter. I’m Keeghann Sinanan, your guide for all the action from the French capital.