Paris (AFP) – Eduardo Camavinga said he was “proud for his family” after becaming France’s youngest international in 96 years as les Bleus won a repeat of the 2018 World Cup final in a 4-2 Nations League victory over Croatia on Tuesday.
Midfielder Camavinga, aged 17 years and nine months, replaced Ngolo Kante at the Stade de France in the second half and is only surpassed by Julien Verbrugghe, aged 16 years and 10 months in 1906, and Maurice Gastiger, at 17 years and 4 months in 1914.
“Firstly I feel joy and pride for my family and all the French population,” said Camavinga, who was born in Angola to Congolese parents, but who moved to France at the age of two and only received French nationality in November.
“I have often played against older players and I think that has allowed me to have a certain amount of maturity,” he added.
Didier Deschamps’ World Cup winners are second on goal difference in Group A behind Portugal who beat Sweden 2-0 as Cristiano Ronaldo crossed the 100-goal mark for his country.
Deschamps made seven changes from Saturday’s win in Solna with Wissam Ben Yedder and Anthony Martial leading the attack after Kylian Mbappe contracted Covid-19.
Antoine Griezmann, Dayot Upamecano, Olivier Giroud as well as an own goal from the visitors’ goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic secured a repeat result from Russia two years ago.
Former Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren opened the scoring for the visitors in a near-empty ground due to the coronavirus pandemic with a half-volleyed effort inside the hosts’ box after a quarter of an hour of play.
– Martial on form –
Griezmann, who missed a penalty in the weekend’s victory, equalised with two minutes of the first half remaining by side-footing home Martial’s low cross.
Manchester United’s Martial was involved in the next les Bleus goal a minute into injury time.
Dominik Livakovic fumbled Martial’s attempt into his goal after Ben Yedder’s dangerous ball.
The sides were equal once again 10 minutes into the second half as Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic split the home side’s defence in half with a tidy through ball.
Substitute Josip Brekalo held up possession well before sliding his effort past Hugo Lloris.
Camavinga’s historic moment came 27 minutes from time as he substitued Chelsea’s Kante.
Deschamps’ side claimed all three points with two goals in the final 25 minutes.
Upamecano claimed the third goal, and his first in international football, with a header from a Griezmann corner.
Chelsea’s Giroud then converted a 77th-minute penalty for the fourth before France closed out the game.
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