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France’s forward Kylian Mbappe (L) celebrates with France’s midfielder Paul Pogba after scoring the opening goal during an international friendly football match between Russia and France at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on March 27, 2018. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Kylian Mbappe scored twice and Paul Pogba netted a brilliant free-kick as France beat World Cup hosts Russia 3-1 in a friendly at Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.

Mbappe’s impressive double and Pogba’s strike helped the 1998 world champions bounce back from Friday’s 3-2 home defeat by Colombia, while Fedor Smolov’s goal for Russia proved to be only a consolation.

“We always have this ability to create opportunities, to score, and we managed three goals,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.

“There are always things we can do better. In the first half, we gave away the ball a bit stupidly… But that was a little less the case in the second period.”

The game was preceded by a minute’s silence to remember the 64 people, including 41 children, who were killed in a fire at a Siberian shopping centre on Sunday.

Russia created the first clear chance of the match in the 15th minute when Alan Dzagoev found Smolov in the area, but Hugo Lloris kept out the Russian skipper’s low shot from 12 yards out.

The visitors came close through Mbappe 10 minutes later, but the Paris Saint-Germain forward was denied by home goalkeeper Andrei Lunev.

But Mbappe put France into a 40th-minute lead when he…



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