|Republic of Ireland||Czech Republic|
Olivier Giroud scored on his full international debut to help France extend their unbeaten run to 18 matches with a confidence-boosting friendly win against Germany.
Seizing his chance in the absence of Loïc Rémy and Karim Benzema, the Montpellier Hérault FC striker capped a strong performance by scoring the opener midway through the first half and having a role in the second 21 minutes from time, converted by substitute Florent Malouda. The hosts registered late on through Cacau but that could not take the gloss off a fine France performance, epitomised by the rampaging performance of right-back Mathieu Debuchy and some inspirational goalkeeping by Hugo Lloris.
France created the early chances, twice going close from corners. If Adil Rami was guilty of nodding the first opportunity wide, Yohan Cabaye could count himself unfortunate when André Schürrle blocked his downward header on the line. Laurent Blanc must have been delighted by his players' assurance and after 21 minutes new faces Debuchy and Giroud combined to score. The former burst forward purposefully, outpaced Dennis Aogo and rolled a perfect cross in to the middle for Giroud to steer home his first international goal left-footed.
The three-time European champions responded by conjuring a flurry of openings and Lloris had to be at his best to keep them at bay, racing off his line to deny Marco Reus before saving Miroslav Klose's effort from point-blank range seconds later. Joachim Löw's charges were suddenly irresistible yet they could not find a way past Lloris. France's newly appointed skipper beat away Holger Badstuber's far-post header and was then grateful to see Klose miscue his shot from close to the penalty spot after being brilliantly set up by Mesut Özil.
Germany failed to exert similar pressure in the second half as Blanc's men regained the upper hand. The dynamic Debuchy stung Tim Wiese's hands from 30 metres before the Werder Bremen goalkeeper got down to save from Giroud. The second goal looked to be coming and after Mathieu Valbuena had missed a good chance, Malouda duly scored on 69 minutes, pouncing from close range after Giroud's effort was blocked. Two more substitutes combined to pull a goal back for Germany, Cacau steering in Thomas Müller's cross in added time, but it was undoubtedly France's night.
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