Two goals from Sébastien Haller ensured France secured a 2-2 draw against England in the two teams' opening game of UEFA European Under-17 Championship Group A.
Twice England were in front, through Hallam Hope and Nicholas Powell, but twice Haller clawed Patrick Gonfalone's charges back into the match. Next up for them are hosts Serbia on Friday, when England take on Denmark.
The holders will approach that fixture with momentum enough after having had to shrug off a fierce start from France, Abdellah Yaisien forcing Jordan Pickford into a magnificent point-blank save inside 60 seconds. John Peacock's side soon found their feet, however, and duly took the lead when Hope poked in Alex Henshall's cross-shot.
England had little time to rest on their lead, though, France swiftly displaying the technique to match their physique only for Haller to volley over at the end of a fine move. The AJ Auxerre striker soon made amends, crisply meeting a cross from the left to draw his side level on 15 minutes.
France, like their opponents before them, failed to build on their goal. Indeed, Powell, having already chanced his arm from range once, pounced on a defensive mix-up to clip delightfully over stranded goalkeeper Quentin Beunardeau and restore England's advantage.
Though it was the width provided by Nathan Redmond and Henshall that was most eye-catching, a similar approach so nearly paid dividends for France. Lenny Nangis was the first to be denied, by the legs of Pickford, having made strides down the left, Haller reaching the rebound only to be thwarted by Bradley Smith, intelligently positioned on the line.
Ultimately, it was a more direct route which ensured the spoils were shared, Haller leaping above Pickford to head in via the despairing lunge of Adam Jackson. With the clock already past 80, Yaisien so nearly provided a dramatic conclusion but his curling free-kick struck the bar.
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