• Serbia draw final preparation match before starting UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying
• Paul Pogba puts France ahead, Aleksandar Kolarov's free-kick levels it
• New coach Dick Advocaat leads Serbia for first time
• Armenia are next opposition for both sides in October
Dick Advocaat began his reign as Serbia coach with an entertaining 1-1 friendly draw against UEFA EURO 2016 host nation France in Belgrade.
Loïc Rémy had the first chance of the match for the visitors as he outpaced his marker before whistling a shot past Vladimir Stojković's post. France did not have to wait long for the breakthrough, however, as on 13 minutes Rémy Cabella's left-flank corner found its way to the back post where an unmarked Pogba was on hand to direct into the roof of the net.
The home team threatened for the first time midway through the half when Zoran Tošić broke free, only to send his effort the wrong side of the post. Serbia struggled to get behind France for the rest of the period but showed their threat from set pieces, captain Branislav Ivanović proving a handful for Les Bleus' defence.
The hosts were more adventurous after the restart and only a Raphaël Varane block denied Ivanović an equaliser. Didier Deschamps' men were keen to wrap up the match, though, and Rémy, Pogba and Cabella all had openings to double the advantage yet none could find the target. They were punished with ten minutes left when a superb Kolarov free-kick was smashed into the bottom corner, leaving Hugo Lloris helpless.
France full-back Bacary Sagna later admitted his team "had a drop in concentration towards the end and had difficulty playing against a strong Serbia – something we need to work on." Of France's new challenge of playing 'centralised' home and away friendlies against the five countries in qualifying Group I, Sagna added: "For us there are no friendlies, we want to win everything, we want to get ready for the EURO in France. We want to reach the tournament in good form and improve as a team."
Visiting coach Deschamps commented: "For the next two years these kind of games will allow us to get stronger. We have to be put in difficult situations. It's easier for everyone to go home when everything's fine. It's important too for players to be in the starting XI. Our starters will take strength from today."
Serbia are next in action when they commence their Group I qualifiers in Armenia on 11 October, with France playing the same opponents three days later in another friendly.