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France fail to convince in Belgium stalemate

Published: Tuesday 15 November 2011, 23.10CET
France 0-0 Belgium
The 71st meeting of these two neighbours produced a stalemate although it was the visitors who went closer to snatching a victory at the Stade de France.
by Christian Châtelet
France fail to convince in Belgium stalemate
France's Loïc Rémy is challenged by Belgium defender Vincent Kompany ©AFP

International Matches

Published: Tuesday 15 November 2011, 23.10CET

France fail to convince in Belgium stalemate

France 0-0 Belgium
The 71st meeting of these two neighbours produced a stalemate although it was the visitors who went closer to snatching a victory at the Stade de France.

France extended their unbeaten run to 17 games but only just after riding their luck in a goalless home draw with a Belgium side who missed out on UEFA EURO 2012 qualification.

This Stade de France encounter reprised France's oldest rivalry, Belgium having provided the first opposition for Les Bleus back in 1904. It was King's Day across the border and the visitors would have marked it with a victory had Daniel Van Buyten's header found the net and not the post following an Eden Hazard free-kick into the box.

It was not the only opportunity Belgium enjoyed although France also carried a threat in a match played at a lively pace. Thibault Courtois, the Red Devils goalkeeper, kept out two angled strikes by Franck Ribéry in the first half and the game resumed with Maxime Gonalons – earning his second cap after making his debut on Friday – blasting just over from 18 metres.

Yohan Cabaye shot wide from a similar distance but Belgium responded and Marouane Fellaini went close with a volley from inside the box which found the side netting. Substitute Kevin Mirallas might have won it for the visitors but was foiled by a double save by Hugo Lloris.

For France coach Laurent Blanc, "the true preparations" for UEFA EURO 2012 will kick off in Bremen on 29 February with a friendly against Germany. He described the stalemate as a disappointment. "When you come here to see the national team, you expect goals. There weren't any so it is disappointing."

France: Lloris, Réveillère, Rami, Sakho, Abidal, Cabaye, M'Vila (Gonalons 41), Martin, Ribéry (Menez 71), Rémy (Giroud 71), Benzema (Malouda 71).

Belgium: Courtois, Alderweireld, Van Buyten, Vermaelen, Kompany, Simons, Vossen (Mirallas 70), Fellaini, Witsel, Hazard, Dembélé (Chadli 62).

 
Last updated: 16/04/12 7.36CET

http://www.uefa.com/friendlies/season=2012/matches/round=2000293/match=2008863/postmatch/report/index.html#france+held+belgium

 
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