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    Camavinga proud of historic debut for Les Bleus

    China Daily | Updated: 2020-09-10 09:24
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    France's Eduardo Camavinga in action during the UEFA Nations League match between France and Croatia, Sept 8, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

    Eduardo Camavinga said he was "proud for his family" after the Rennes prodigy became 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 9 months, replaced N'Golo Kante at Stade de France in the second half and is only surpassed in the age stakes by Julien Verbrugghe (16 years and 10 months in 1906) and Maurice Gastiger (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, moved to France aged 2 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.

    Coach Didier Deschamps made seven changes from Saturday's win in Sweden 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 visitor's goalkeeper, Dominik Livakovic, secured a repeat result from Russia two years ago.

    Former Liverpool centerback Dejan Lovren opened the scoring for the visitor in a near-empty ground due to the coronavirus pandemic with a half-volleyed effort inside the host's box in the 16th minute.

    Griezmann, who missed a penalty in the weekend's victory, equalized with two minutes of the first half remaining by side-footing home Martial's low cross.

    Martial was involved in the next Les Bleus goal a minute into injury time after Livakovic fumbled the Manchester United striker's effort.

    The sides were level once again 10 minutes into the second half as Chelsea's Mateo Kovacic split the home side's defense with a neat through-ball and substitute Josip Brekalo coolly slid past Hugo Lloris.

    Camavinga's historic moment came 27 minutes from time after replacing Chelsea's Kante.

    Deschamps' side claimed all three points with two goals in the final 25 minutes.

    RB Leipzig defender Upamecano claimed the third goal, and his first in international soccer, with a header from a Griezmann corner. Chelsea's Giroud then converted a 77th-minute penalty as France closed out the game.

    Agence France-Presse

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