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France indebted to debutant Valbuena

Published: Thursday 27 May 2010
France 2-1 Costa Rica
Les Bleus needed a first international goal by Mathieu Valbuena eight minutes from time to overcome tenacious opponents in Lens.
by Christian Châtelet
France indebted to debutant Valbuena
Mathieu Valbuena celebrates scoring on his France debut ©Sportsfile

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Published: Thursday 27 May 2010

France indebted to debutant Valbuena

France 2-1 Costa Rica
Les Bleus needed a first international goal by Mathieu Valbuena eight minutes from time to overcome tenacious opponents in Lens.

France 2-1 Costa Rica
France came from behind to beat Costa Rica 2-1 in a pre-tournament friendly ahead of this summer's FIFA World Cup.

Les Bleus needed a first international goal by Mathieu Valbuena to overcome their tenacious opponents who took the lead through Carlos Hernández. Raymond Domenech's side soon levelled matters courtesy of an own goal, with Valbuena's decisive strike coming eight minutes from time.

Thierry Henry started on the bench for France in Lens while Nicolas Anelka played up front and Patrice Evra was installed as captain. The 2006 World Cup finalists started well, but fell behind after ten minutes to Melbourne Victory midfielder Hernández's low drive. France replied 11 minutes later when Jérémy Toulalan played in Franck Ribéry, whose low cross was diverted into own net by Douglas Sequeira.

FC Twente's Bryan Ruiz then thumped a header against Steve Mandanda's crossbar just past the half-hour as Costa Rica threatened. Les Bleus made six substitutions in the second half with Valbuena capped for the first time. The diminutive Olympique de Marseille midfielder then marked his first appearance for his country with a goal, finishing well after good work by fellow replacement Abou Diaby.

France now leave Europe for Tunisia to play a local side in a friendly on 30 May before their last pre-tournament game on 4 June against China. Domenech's team start their World Cup campaign on 11 June against Uruguay in Cape Town.

Last updated: 26/05/10 23.43CET

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