Thierry Henry's solitary first-half goal in Paris proved sufficient for France to avenge their UEFA EUR0 2004™ quarter-final defeat by Greece.
France were determined to make amends for that 1-0 loss to the European champions, and Henry's 39th goal for Les Bleus helped to erase the memory of that evening in Portugal. The home side dominated the game and will feel they should have extended their winning margin against a solid but tentative Greece outfit preparing for their next UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifier against Turkey.
In the first half, Raymond Domenech's team created several chances as visiting centre-backs Traianos Dellas and Sotirios Kyrgiakos struggled to contain Sylvain Wiltord and Henry. Both were found wanting when Willy Sagnol's cross was converted at the far post by Henry's diving header. The Arsenal FC captain now trails France's all-time leading scorer Michel Platini by two goals.
Otto Rehhagel's men did threaten on three occasions through forward Georgios Samaras but Antonios Nikopolidis proved the busier of the goalkeepers and had to make several saves in the dying minutes to keep the score at 1-0, including thwarting Nicolas Anelka at the death. "It was a tough friendly against strong opponents," said Henry. "We had to stay focused and in the end we managed to do that."
Merci Les Bleus
Before kick-off, the 68,000 crowd had paid tribute to France's FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship-winning sides of 1998 and 2000, with supporters waving blue-and-white flags with the message Merci Les Bleus. Zinedine Zidane, who retired after this year's World Cup, received a standing ovation while David Trezeguet, golden-goal hero of the UEFA EURO 2000™ final, was present alongside, among others, Patrick Vieira, Christophe Dugarry, Laurent Blanc, Lilian Thuram and Youri Djorkaeff.
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