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France dazzle England at Wembley

Published: Thursday 18 November 2010
England 1-2 France
Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena struck either side of half-time as Wembley witnessed a fluid display from Laurent Blanc's visitors.
by Sam Crompton
from Wembley
France dazzle England at Wembley
Mathieu Valbuena celebrates his winning goal at Wembley ©Getty Images
Published: Thursday 18 November 2010

France dazzle England at Wembley

England 1-2 France
Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena struck either side of half-time as Wembley witnessed a fluid display from Laurent Blanc's visitors.

France continued their fine recent record against England with an impressive 2-1 victory at Wembley.

Both sides included youngsters in their starting lineups with an eye to bringing through a new generation of talent ahead of UEFA EURO 2012. The home side were left to reflect on a third consecutive defeat by Les Bleus, however, after goals from Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena either side of half-time capped an excellent team display.

Laurent Blanc's side were full of vigour, with Yoann Gourcuff and Samir Nasri proving to be a constant menace, finding space and threading intricate balls beyond the hosts' defence. The visitors dominated the early exchanges and were rewarded 16 minutes in when Benzema, having played a neat one-two with Florent Malouda, drilled the ball low past Ben Foster.

England lacked rhythm and were restricted to speculative efforts from Steven Gerrard and debutant Andy Carroll which failed to trouble France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. With a trio of half-time substitutions not changing the pattern for Fabio Capello's men, it took Les Bleus ten minutes to double their advantage in the second period as Valbuena found the net with a clinical finish. The diminutive winger quickly latched on to Bacary Sagna's pinpoint cross to guide the ball past the helpless Foster.

Inspired by the lively Adam Johnson, England finally started to impose themselves late on. Gerrard twice went close, but it was substitute Peter Crouch who grabbed the consolation, neatly volleying into the roof of the net from an Ashley Young corner.

Last updated: 16/04/12 7.33CET

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