Wales suffered a 3-0 Euro 2020 warm-up defeat to France after Neko Williams’ controversial red card saw them play with 10 men for more than an hour.
Yellian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele counted out France’s numerical advantage as Wells went into damage limit mode on a night in Nice that proved anything but pleasant for the Dragons.
Following a VAR check by Portuguese referee Luis Godinho, Williams was relegated on 26 minutes after blocking Karim Benzema’s close shot with his arms.
It seemed a harsh decision, but Williams is now set to miss Wales’ final pre-Euro 2020 friendly against Albania in Cardiff on Saturday through suspension.
Benzema saw that his resulting spot-kick was saved by Danny Ward, but the result was inevitable from that point on as world champions rejoiced in the extra space created by Williams’ departure.
Wales’ interim boss Robert Page promised to manage his players’ minutes against France and Albania amid several fitness concerns just 10 days before their tournament opener in Baku.
Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davis and Joe Allen all had injury problems in the final months of the season, with the trio having little or no playing time.
The Stoke midfielder’s first game since his World Cup qualifying loss to Belgium in March, only Allen of the three started at the Allianz Riviera.
Ramsey and Davis were on the bench, while Ethan Ampadu and Tom Locker, joined late at the Euro 2020 party on Monday when James Lawrence was ruled out, did not make the team on match day after injury.
Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris captained France for the 100th time in the city of his birth as Real Madrid striker Benzema joined the onslaught of Griezmann and Mbappe, ending a nearly six-year international absence.
When Griezmann and Olivier Giroud had last met, France won a friendly 2–0 against Paris in November 2017.
Les Blaises were looking for a good omen, with the victory coming eight months before their World Cup celebrations in Russia, and Didier Deschamps’ side debut.
Williams was assigned a man-marking task on Paul Pogba, but a Manchester United man found space in the fourth minute to deliver a cross, which was powerfully led by Benzema but Ward pushed to safety.
Wells responded quickly and Daniel James broke into space to test Lloris with a low shot, Presnell Kimpembe preventing Allen from rebounding home.
The visitors were matching France in what was an open high-tempo contest, but that was about to change when Ward reacted brilliantly to save Pogba’s close-range header.
Benzema’s follow-up was on goal until Williams got in the way and Wales paid a penalty in more ways than one as the Liverpool youngster was dismissed.
France counted their extra man after 34 minutes when Adrian Rabiot’s shot from the edge of the field took a wicked deflection.
Ward gets a leg out but the ball bounces in the air and Mbappe was on hand to end with a classy volley.
In the second half, France doubled their lead in two minutes.
Mbappe cleverly threw the ball into Griezmann’s path and the Barcelona forward beat Ward with an impromptu effort from the edge of the box.
Ramsey was introduced between second-half substitutions and the Juventus playmate produced a delicious pass to set up James for an effort, which Lloris saved with a strong right hand.
David Brooks also saw his free-kick being blocked, but France sealed the win 11 minutes ahead of time when Benzema’s shot cannoned a post and substitute Dembele drove the rebound home.
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