Paris (AFP) – Lars Stindl scored a last-gasp equaliser as world champions Germany played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with France in Cologne on Tuesday, while Spain were held by Russia in a 3-3 friendly thriller.
France and Germany are among the favourites for next year’s World Cup in Russia, and Stindl’s injury-time effort extended Joachim Loew’s side’s unbeaten run to 21 matches.
In the two teams’ first clash since the French won 2-0 in the Euro 2016 semi-finals, Didier Deschamps’ men scored a brilliantly-worked opening goal in the 33rd minute, as Anthony Martial danced between two defenders and squared for Alexandre Lacazette to tap into an empty net.
Loew’s hosts equalised before the hour mark, though, as Mesut Ozil led a rapid counter-attack and played in RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner to slide a finish through the legs of the onrushing Steve Mandanda.
But the visitors still looked threatening going forward and retook the lead with 19 minutes to play.
This time it was teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe who was the creator, playing a pin-point through ball that Arsenal striker Lacazette latched onto before confidently finishing past Paris Saint-Germain second-choice goalkeeper Kevin Trapp for his first international brace.
The 26-year-old had only scored once in his previous 15 France appearances, but sent out a message that he could take Olivier Giroud’s place up front at international level, as he already has done for his club.
But Germany kept probing and snatched a draw as substitutes Stindl and Mario Goetze combined for the former’s fourth international goal.
The game was played under tight security after a friendly between the two teams at the Stade de France was hit by the Paris terror attacks on November 13, 2015.
Spain were denied a seventh consecutive victory as Fedor Smolov grabbed World Cup hosts Russia a thrilling 3-3 draw in Saint Petersburg, despite a rare international brace for Sergio Ramos.
Julen Lopetegui’s visitors took control through a Jordi Alba header and Ramos’ first spot-kick, but Smolov and Alexei Miranchuk brought Russia level with goals either side of half-time.
Real Madrid centre-back Ramos completed his first double for Spain since scoring two against San Marino in 2005, but Smolov grabbed Russia a draw after an encouraging performance.
It was still a satisfactory international break for 2010 World Cup winners Spain, after a 5-0 thrashing of Costa Rica in Malaga on Saturday.
“Russia showed a high level of play tonight as their players all looked extremely motivated,” coach Lopetegui said.