First successful test against Paraguay (4-1)

First successful test against Paraguay (4-1)
First successful test against Paraguay (4-1)

The French U23s got off to a good start in their preparation for the 2024 Olympics by securing a 4-1 victory over Paraguay in a friendly match on Thursday July 4 in Bayonne (photo).

If they wanted to get a taste of what awaits them in three weeks at the Paris Games, Thierry Henry’s players were fully served during this first preparation match played against Paraguay, also qualified for the Olympic tournament (from July 24 to August 9).

Quickly trailing on the pitch at the Stade Jean-Dauger in Bayonne and slow to get going against a tenacious South American team, they waited until the second half, which was much more accomplished collectively, to take their measure and make the difference. A brace from Jean-Philippe Mateta and two goals from Rayan Cherki and Arnaud Kalimuendo gave the Bleuets a deserved victory, during this match which allowed the coach to carry out a squad review with eight changes made, including six at half-time.

After two days off, Friday and Saturday, the Tricolores will meet again on Sunday at noon in Aix-en-Provence for the resumption of training. With two new test matches in sight, against the Dominican Republic and Japan, on July 11 and 17 at the Mayol stadium in Toulon.

The U23 national team

For his first captaincy, Alexandre Lacazette led his team to victory (photo Loïc BARATOUX / ICON SPORT).


Thursday July 4, 2024 in Bayonne (Jean-Dauger stadium)
Preparation match for the men’s football tournament at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games

FRANCE – PARAGUAY : 4-1 (1-1)

Spectators : 11 280
: Daniel Schlager (Germany)
Buts : Mateta (45th, 51st sp), Cherki (72nd), Kalimuendo (86th) for France; Save (3rd) for Paraguay
Warnings : Diouf (34th), Millot (49th), Cherki (84th) to France; E. Gonzalez (7th), Gomez (50th) to Paraguay

FRANCE : Restes then Nkambadio (46th) – Sildillia then Truffert (46th), Matsima, Lukeba then Millot (46th), Locko then Cherki (46th) – Ugochukwu, Chotard then Koné (46th), Diouf, Olise then Magassa (46th) – Mateta then Kalimuendo (64th), Lacazette (cap.) then Doué (64th).
– Not used: De Percin (g), Bade, Akliouche.
– Selector: Thierry Henry.

PARAGUAY : A. Gonzalez as Frutos (55e) – Nunez, Flores, Dejesus, Rivas – Gomez as Cantero (68e), Viera (cap.), Fernandez as Caballero (60e), E. Gonzalez as Parzajuk (68e) – Salcedo, Perez as D. Gonzalez (77e).
– Not used : Roman.
– Selector: Carlos Jara Saguier.

Jean-Philippe Mateta gives the Bleuets the advantage from a penalty and scores a personal double (photo Pierre COSTABADIE / ICON SPORT).


– 0-1, Juan Salcedo (3e) : lack of concentration by Castello Lukeba who has the ball stolen by Juan Salcedo on a tricolor recovery phase. The Paraguayan attacker goes alone towards the goal, enters the surface and, despite Matsima’s retreat, places a low cross shot with his right foot which ends up in the small opposite net of Guillaume Restes.

– 1-1, Jean-Philippe Mateta (45th) : starting from the center circle, Michael Olise breaks through the axis, resists the return of a defender and manages to shift to the left to Jean-Philippe Mateta in the area. The French striker advances and comes to deceive the Paraguayan goalkeeper with the flat of his left foot to equalize.

– 2-1, Jean-Philippe Mateta (51st sp) : Alexandre Lacazette recovers a good ball in the opposing camp after a poor control by a defender. The French captain serves Enzo Millot deep in the axis who infiltrates the surface and is jostled in the back by Marco Gomez. After appealing to the VAR, the referee awards a penalty to the Bleuets. Jean-Philippe Mateta transforms it with his right foot, taking the goalkeeper on the wrong foot.

– 3-1, Rayan Cherki (72e) : Désiré Doué inherits the ball in the left corridor, leans on Andy Diouf who instantly passes to his teammate and thus eliminates two defenders. Doué progresses to the sixteen meters and perfectly finds Rayan Cherki unmarked on the opposite side. Ideally placed in the surface, Cherki calmly beats Frutos with his right.

– 4-1, Arnaud Kalimuendo (86e) : superb collective movement of the Bleuets at the end of which Désiré Doué, in the axis, shifts to Adrien Truffert on the left side. The cross on the line of the French defender takes the South American defense completely by surprise and finds Arnaud Kalimuendo alone in front of the goal who does not miss the opportunity.

Arnaud Kalimuendo for the fourth French goal (photo Loïc BARATOUX / ICON SPORT).


Thierry Henry (on the microphone of La Chaîne L’Équipe): “As I said, we were a little tired physically against a team that is already good physically and that was super aggressive. We conceded an early goal that strengthened Paraguay in what they wanted to do. We created a lot of chances in the first half without converting them. In the second it was much better but we have to learn to control the ball a little better, especially in the offensive phase. When you let the ball live, play with one or two touches, know exactly where you are, you can find solutions, that’s normal. You have to stay positive, with the ball on the ground, move, go fast, release the ball at the right time, continue to play normally, seriously. That’s what we’re trying to put in place. I saw a lot of good things and also bad things, but that’s normal in a preparation match. Nobody got injured, I’m really happy, I didn’t think we would be like this physically, and I would have said the same thing if we had lost.”

Results and calendar

Preparation matches:

  • Thursday July 4, 2024: France – Paraguay 4-1
  • Thursday July 11, 2024: France – Dominican Republic in Toulon (9:15 p.m., La Chaîne L’Equipe)
  • Wednesday July 17, 2024: France – Japan in Toulon (9:05 p.m., La Chaîne L’Equipe)

Paris 2024 Olympic Games

– 1st round (group A):

  • Wednesday July 24, 2024: France – United States, in Marseille (9:00 p.m.)
  • Saturday July 27, 2024: France – Guinea, in Nice (9:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday July 30, 2024: New Zealand – Francein Marseille (7:00 p.m.)

– Knockout phase (if qualified):

  • Quarter-finals: Friday, August 2, 2024
  • Semi-finals: Monday, August 5, 2024
  • Bronze Medal Match: Thursday, August 8, 2024
  • Final: Friday August 9, 2024 (Paris, Parc des Princes, 6:00 p.m.)


PREV Events for the weekend of July 6 and 7, 2024 in Antibes
NEXT Djibril Cissé as DJ, Euro final and fireworks: a successful July 14 around the lake of Châlette-sur-Loing