at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Rome - Bafetimbi Gomis came off the bench to give France a surprise 2-1 victory over Euro 2012 runners-up Italy in a entertaining friendly in Parma on Wednesday.
Italy started brightly and almost opened the scoring through Mario Balotelli who linked up with strike partner Stephan El Shaarawy before crashing a long-range drive against the bar in the ninth minute.
Manchester City's extrovert forward was at the heart of most of the home attacks and it was his smart flick which led to Cesare Prandelli's side taking the lead on 35 minutes.
Riccardo Montolivo took a pass from Balotelli and fed El Shaarawy who calmly slipped the ball under keeper Hugo Lloris to claim his first Italy goal.
Didier Deschamps's French side were second best but they equalised two minutes later thanks to a special goal.
Mathieu Valbuena skipped past Marco Verratti and Andrea Barzagli on the left before cutting inside and curling a superb strike into the top corner.
France then started to improved and deservedly took the lead after 67 minutes.
Jeremy Menez did well down the left before cutting the ball back to Patrice Evra who hit the ball across the goal for substitute Gomis to tap in.
Italy reacted positively to going behind and El Shaarawy's replacement Alessandro Diamanti whipped in a superb cross with a quarter of an hour left that only just evaded the head of Balotelli and the boot of the on-rushing Sebastian Giovinco.
Diamanti almost levelled himself five minutes later when he miskicked from close range following a Giovinco pass.
Giovinco also forced a good save from Lloris before France went close when Menez's driving run ended with Salvatore Sirigu producing a breathtaking save.
There was still time for Italy's Emanuele Giaccherini to thump the ball against the crossbar with the goal at his mercy. - Reuters