James McFadden's stunning strike midway through the second half gave Scotland a win in France that takes them top of UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying Group B.
Scotland hold out
The home side had the lion's share of the play but could not beat the stubborn visiting defence. And just as they had against France in Glasgow a year ago, Scotland scored a timely goal for a 1-0 victory – these results being the only qualifying defeats for Les Bleus, home or away, since 1999. Scotland are now top and a point above Italy, with France having fallen two places to third with three games left.
Having drawn in Italy on Saturday to stay in pole position, France were clearly keen for three points to lift them to within sight of the finals. But despite dominating possession and territory, they created little in the way of clear-cut chances in the first half, perhaps missing the suspended Thierry Henry. Florent Malouda did force Craig Gordon into a save while Claude Makelele volleyed over, but that was as close as France came before the break.
A neat one-two with David Trezeguet on 55 minutes set up Franck Ribéry but the FC Bayern München forward's angled shot was well stopped by Gordon, as was his effort on the rebound. Soon after, Lassana Diarra and Ribéry combined to supply Nicolas Anelka near the penalty spot yet Gordon pushed the ball over the bar.
Then came the sucker punch. McFadden let fly from distance with such ferocity that Mickaël Landreau could only tip the ball into his own top right-hand corner. It was all France thereafter, but Scotland's rearguard remained unbreachable. On 13 October Scotland welcome Ukraine hoping to close in on their first final tournament since 1998 while France go to the Faroe Islands.