Such was the quality of Benzema’s performance that Deschamps will be keeping his fingers cross that a player who until recently was not involved in the set-up is given a clean bill of health.
The win was France’s last opportunity to test their first XI ahead of Euro 2020, with their Group F campaign starting with a headline fixture against Germany next Tuesday.
Talking Point – Is France’s biggest obstacle themselves?
The France XI that started this match was packed full of world-class talent right across the park, and at times – particularly in the opening half hour – they played the sort of football that would have had the rest of Europe sweating ahead of the Euros. But, for all of their silky play at the Stade de France, a deflected Griezmann goal was all that separated the world champions and the 71st-ranked Bulgaria for much of the night in the French capital.
Yes it was a warm-up game, yes the pace dipped dramatically, but there is also a feeling that France are occasionally overly happy to rely on their solid defence, leaving them potentially open to sucker-punch late goals in the games that really matter.
That lack of willingness to really let the team off the leash could be the thing that keeps them organised enough to secure a second major title – that’s certainly one way of reading of it. But this is by far this best squad going into the tournament, and if they fail to win it then the manager will face some questions.
Karim Benzema durant France - Bulgarie
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Man of the Match – Paul Pogba (France)
A whole host of players could have got the nod for stand-out performer, not least wide forwards Mbappe and Griezmann (and Bulgaria stopper Daniel Naumov). But Pogba was close to his beautiful best at times in midfield, running the game and taking full advantage of the platform created by Florentin Tolisso and N'Golo Kante in the centre of the park to glide forward into dangerous positions. The stats will rarely show just how good Pogba is, but playing like this it’s hard to think of a contemporary footballer quite like him at the top of the game.
The other great thing about Pogba in this France midfield is he give the team so much tactical flexibility. At times he would turn it into a solid three in the middle of the park, at other times he would drift out wide or move into a more classic No 10 area. It’s a real luxury for Didier Deschamps to have a player like that, and also a real luxury for Pogba to have the likes of Kante allowing him the perfect conditions to shine.
France's forward Kylian Mbappe (C) fights for the ball with Bulgaria's defender Vasil Bozhikov (L) and Bulgaria's defender Petko Hristov during the friendly football match France vs Bulgaria ahead of the Euro 2020 tournament, at Stade De France in Saint-D
Image credit: Getty Images
29’ GOAL! – There is the opener and it’s a spectacular one, an overhead kick from Antoine Griezmann. It took a deflection to take the shine off it a little, but that’s a lovely effort and a deserved lead for the French. 1-0.
34’ – Benzema is getting a bit of tape on a sore leg. If there’s any doubt I imagine you’d get him off the pitch here, there’s always Giroud waiting on the bench anyway, no need to gamble on his fitness unnecessarily.
40’ – So close to a second! France are still down to ten men temporarily as Giroud prepares to come on, but it doesn’t make France any less incisive, as Mbappe feeds Griezmann and the keeper is forced into another blinder of a save.
67’ – Dembele, with his first touch after coming on, plays a rapier-pass straight through the heart of the Bulgaria defence to set up Mbappe with a great chance, but, in his attempt to dummy the keeper he drags his shot narrowly wide.
78’ – Wowzers, that’s extremely close to an equaliser out of nowhere as Karageren sneaks a shot through the legs of Varane and just wide of the far post.
83’ GOAL! – That’s the win secured and Giroud shows why he’s such a valuable member of this squad with a tidy finish at the near post off Pavard’s cross. 2-0 France.
90’ GOAL! – Giroud gets his second, getting on the end of Ben Yedder's low cross and slotting into an open goal from close range. 3-0.