France held to draw with Paraguay; Ribery's World Cup in question
NICE, France (AP) Real Sociedad winger Antoine Griezmann staked his claim for a World Cup starting spot with his first international goal for France, only for midfielder Victor Caceres to do likewise and earn Paraguay a 1-1 draw with an 89th-minute header Sunday in Les Bleus' penultimate warm-up game before heading to Brazil.
Griezmann has impressed since recently breaking into the team and the substitute put the hosts ahead in the 82nd minute with an assured finish, curling the ball into the right corner after collecting it on the left side of the penalty area.
France had the majority of possession but Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud missed several chances and failed to add to his international tally after scoring twice against Norway in a 4-0 win on Tuesday night.
''We're not going to win all of our games 4-0,'' Deschamps said. ''We made the breakthrough after creating a lot of chances against a team defending deep in numbers. We dropped too deep and they equalized.''
Deschamps rested striker Karim Benzema and winger Franck Ribery, who has a back injury. French media have reported that he could be doubtful for the World Cup.
''We will do everything we can for him to be ready for the Jamaica game next Sunday,'' Deschamps said, referring to France's last friendly before going to Brazil.
Deschamps made three changes from the Norway game, with Loic Remy replacing Griezmann on the left wing, Bacary Sagna taking Mathieu Debuchy's slot at right back and Hugo Lloris returning in goal.
Remy had France's first chance, side-footing wide after Mathieu Valbuena had played him in down the left side of the penalty area.
Giroud had the next chance, using his body well to shield the ball, before spinning and hitting a low shot that was blocked.
Lloris was called into action midway through the first half when he gathered a low shot from veteran striker Roque Santa Cruz.
France hit back moments later and midfielder Paul Pogba drilled a shot just wide, and then Giroud held the ball up down the right before floating a cross over to Remy, whose scissor-kick volley flew wide.
Remy and Giroud combined well throughout the match, and Giroud headed wide from Remy's cross at the start of the second half. Giroud then crossed from the right only for Valbuena to nod the ball wide.
Valbuena had set up Giroud for a headed goal against Norway, and almost did so again only for goalkeeper Anthony Silva to tip the forward's looping header over the crossbar. From Valbuena's corner, Silva saved yet another Giroud header.
After Caceres scored with his first goal in 55 appearances for Paraguay, Giroud almost netted the winner right at the end as his astute chip went just over.