The French can only hope the goalkeepers at this summer’s World Cup are as generous as they have proved for them in recent days.
Forty-eight hours on from Liverpool’s Loris Karius gifting Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid two goals in the Champions League final – including one for exiled France forward Karim Benzema – it was the turn of Ireland’s Colin Doyle to flap one in at the Stade de France on Monday night.
Didier Deschamps’ side were already leading through Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud when Nabil Fekir of Lyon took aim from 20 yards. It was a harmless enough effort – there was no Gareth Bale swerve or dip – but Bradford’s Doyle somehow contrived to fist the ball up and over his own head and into the net.
There will be no inquest into this keeper clanger, however, for Martin O’Neill’s side had the look of a team fulfilling a friendly fixture.
They aren’t going to Russia, of course, but James McClean wanted to have his say on who does and he came mightily close to putting France skipper Blaise Matuidi out of the tournament with a wild tackle early on which duly earned a caution.
Kylian Mbappe, meanwhile, was so sharp that the visitors could not get close enough to kick him. At times the £165million teenager was up against Ireland debutant Derrick Williams – who cost Blackburn £250,000 – and twice the PSG forward went close to scoring after bursting into the area.
But it was Giroud who forced the opening goal on 40 minutes, poking in at the third attempt after Doyle had blocked his initial header.
Then came the keeper’s howler on the stroke of half-time. If Karius was watching then perhaps he would have been cheered by this inadvertent show of support – you’re not alone, Loris.
On a brighter note for O’Neill, West Ham teenager Declan Rice was again impressive on his second start, heightening the need for his competitive debut and so putting an end to talk of a defection to England.
But the one message Deschamps will be telling his players ahead of the World Cup is this – shoot on sight, the chances are the keeper will help it in anyway.