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Faltering France do just enough

Published: Thursday 3 April 2003, 0.45CET
Israel 1-2 France France move a step closer to qualification with an unconvincing win.

Match statistics

IsraelFrance

Goals scored1
 
2
Yellow cards1
 
1
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

Last updated: 27/06/2012 11:56 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Thursday 3 April 2003, 0.45CET

Faltering France do just enough

Israel 1-2 France France move a step closer to qualification with an unconvincing win.

France have opened up a nine-point lead at the top of UEFA EURO 2004™ Group 1 but did so with an unconvincing display against Israel in Palermo.

On the brink
The reigning European champions have won all five of their qualifying games so far, having scored 19 goals and conceded just two, and are overwhelming favourites to reach the finals in Portugal next year.

Disappointing display
However, the French followed Saturday's resounding 6-0 victory against Malta with an uncertain start tonight. They surprisingly fell behind after only two minutes as Israel, who are currently unable to play in their home country because of the security situation in the Middle East, began brightly.

Fine finish
Midfield player Haim Revivo set Omri Afek free, who sprinted beyond the striker and outpaced Bixente Lizarazu to score with an angled shot from close range. The goal seemed to take France unawares, and for several minutes they were unable to impose themselves on their opponents.

Headed equaliser
Inspired by Zinedine Zidane, the holders gradually worked their way back into the game and drew level after 23 minutes as Thierry Henry produced a fine cross and his strike partner David Trezeguet headed the equaliser.

Deflected shot
The goal gave France confidence, but Jacques Santini's side still struggled to break down a packed Israel defence. Israel relied on rapid counterattacks to threaten their opponents and twice came close to taking the lead only to fall behind in first-half stoppage time as Zidane's shot was deflected beyond Dudu Awat to give France the lead.

Tight second period
The second half was a similarly tight affair with Israel introducing Michael Zandberg and Walid Badir in a bid to find a way back into the game. As France sought to protect their narrow advantage, Israel were the better side but were unable to plot a path through their illustrious opponents' defence.

'We were a mess'
Santini was brutally honest with his assessment of his side's display. "It was a really tough game, and you can guess my feeling from the tone of my voice," he said. "We have seen two different Frances tonight and we will to give this situation some thought. We never were at the right pace. We failed to communicate properly throughout the match and our set-up was a mess both when defending or attacking."

'Extremely disappointed'
In contrast, Israel coach Avraham Grant admitted he was proud of his team's performance, but said that the manner of the defeat had disappointed him. "A lot of people back home should be encouraged by the performance of my team tonight," he said. "We made France waste time in the final minutes, but feel extremely disappointed that we will travel back home with nothing. To take the lead but then concede two soft goals is something that shouldn't happen at this level."

Last updated: 30/03/04 12.19CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2004/matches/round=1579/match=68974/postmatch/report/index.html#faltering+france+just+enough

Lineups

Israel

Israel

France

France

1
AwatDudu Aouate (GK)
16
BarthezFabien Barthez (GK)
2
HaraziAlon Harazi
3
LizarazuBixente Lizarazu
3
AfekOmri Afek
Goal2
4
VieiraPatrick Vieira
Yellow Card62
4
BenadoArik Benado
Yellow Card12
5
GallasWilliam Gallas
5
Ben Haim ITal Ben Haim I
6
MakeleleClaude Makelele
6
KeiseAdoram Keise
10
ZidaneZinédine Zidane (C)
Goal45+1
7
BaninTal Banin (C)
Substitution75
11
WiltordSylvain Wiltord
Substitution66
8
RevivoHaim Revivo
12
HenryThierry Henry
9
TorjmanAmir Torjman
Substitution46
13
SilvestreMikaël Silvestre
10
AbukasisJosef Abukasis
15
ThuramLilian Thuram
11
TalIdan Tal
Substitution56
20
TrezeguetDavid Trezeguet
Goal23
Substitution75

Substitutes

18
ElimelechShavit Elimelech (GK)
23
CoupetGrégory Coupet (GK)
14
BadierWalid Badier
Substitution56
9
CisséDjibril Cissé
Substitution75
15
BenayounYossi Benayoun
Substitution75
22
GovouSidney Govou
Substitution66
17
ZandbergMichael Zandberg
Substitution46
2
MexèsPhilippe Mexès
16
ZanoAvishay Zano
18
PedrettiBenoît Pedretti
20
AntebiYgal Antebi
19
SagnolWilly Sagnol
21
DegoBaruch Dego
21
MarletSteve Marlet

Coach

Avram Grant (ISR) Jacques Santini (FRA)

Referee

Graham Barber (ENG)

Assistant referees

David Babski (ENG), Anthony Green (ENG)

Fourth official

Mark Halsey (ENG)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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