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France survived a nervy night to seal automatic qualification for UEFA EURO 2012, and condemn Bosnia and Herzegovina to a play-off berth, as Samir Nasri's late penalty cancelled out a first-half strike from Edin Džeko.
Starting a point behind the Group D leaders, Safet Sušić's charges looked capable of springing an upset when Džeko opened the scoring against a below-par France side on 40 minutes. But Laurent Blanc's men stirred in the last half-hour and Nasri's coolly struck spot kick on 78 minutes – scored after he had been fouled by Emir Spahić – ensured Les Bleus reached their ninth consecutive major finals.
The visitors made a lively start against a tense-looking French side, Senad Lulić almost scoring in the sixth minute when he robbed Anthony Réveillère only to shoot at the side netting. Loïc Rémy then squandered a glorious chance after being played clear, yet that was the only opening the hosts conjured during an opening period dominated by their positive opponents.
Džeko had already missed two presentable opportunities when he broke the deadlock with a classy finish, the Manchester City FC striker collecting Zvjezdan Misimović's quickly taken free-kick and curling a right-footed shot inside Hugo Lloris' far post from 20 metres.
The former world champions appeared gripped by fear and struggled to find any momentum before the introductions of Kévin Gameiro and Marvin Martin. The substitutes injected urgency, and goalkeeper Asmir Begović – who had replaced Kenan Hasagić at the break – was soon called into action, pushing out Martin's 69th-minute free-kick before tipping a more potent set piece from Nasri on to the crossbar.
The tide was turning and the Bosnian resistance eventually broke when Spahić fouled Nasri in the box. To the relief of a capacity crowd in Paris, the Manchester City playmaker kept his cool, sending Begović the wrong way and ensuring that Bosnia and Herzegovina, and not France, must try to qualify via the play-offs next month.
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