This content is streamed in such a way that it is protected and available only in a Flash format. Your device seems not to be compatible with our Flash video player.
|Attempts on target||9||1|
|Attempts off target||8||0|
|Attempts against woodwork||0||0|
|D||Albania||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|B||Republic of Ireland||Russia|
|C||Faroe Islands||Northern Ireland|
|B||Slovakia||Republic of Ireland|
France defender Philippe Mexès described Tuesday's 2-0 victory over Luxembourg as "the cherry on the cake" after a highly satisfying week for Laurent Blanc's team.
Les Bleus seemed to be suffering a hangover from their disappointing FIFA World Cup campaign when they lost their first two fixtures of the season, including a 1-0 home defeat by Belarus in their opening UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier. But a gritty victory in Bosnia and Herzegovina last month has sparked a turnaround in fortunes, with France climbing to the Group D summit thanks to two more successes over Romania and Luxembourg.
Mexès believes the work on the training ground is paying off as Blanc's new-look side begins to find its feet. "We've had a super week together and three points tonight are the cherry on the cake," the AS Roma centre-back told UEFA.com. "
We've scored goals and avoided conceding in each of our last three matches, so we have some momentum. Now we need to keep this rhythm up because that's the only way we'll build confidence and play better."
The two-time European champions failed to create a glut of chances against Luc Holtz's resolute team, ultimately relying on set pieces to inflict the damage. Karim Benzema opened the scoring from Yoann Gourcuff's 22nd-minute corner before Gourcuff got on the scoresheet himself after picking up Dimitri Payet's quick free-kick and firing in. For Mexès, however, the result was more important than the performance. "I really think it was about getting three points," he said. "We could have played better but they were well organised and it wasn't easy to find space."
The midfield was particularly congested, making it difficult for Gourcuff, Florent Malouda and Abou Diaby to express their talent. Like Mexès, though, Diaby was happy simply to have won. "It was a tricky game," the Arsenal FC midfielder said. "They didn't come out and they got ten men behind the ball. It was hard in the first half to find space behind their defence. But luckily we got the goal from a corner, and then scored the second after the break."
If France are still one point clear at the top of the section, Luxembourg remain rooted to the bottom despite picking up their first point against Belarus on Friday. Nevertheless, goalkeeper Jonathan Joubert feels his side can be proud of their recent performances. "
I thought we turned in a good collective performance, continuing from where we left off in the last game," said the 31-year-old, who turned in a fine display on his return to his hometown Metz. "We made a mistake with the marking for the first goal and were a bit slow to react on the second. But I'm hopeful we can take a few more points from this campaign."
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.