Gaëtane Thiney's strike proved to be the difference between the two UEFA Women's EURO 2013 participants as France ran out 1-0 winners against Norway.
The hosts dominated the majority of the game but passed up several opportunities and often found Norway No1 Ingrid Hjelmseth in their way before Gaëtane Thiney struck the winner after the break. Up next for France is a visit from Australia to Angers on Saturday for their last pre-finals friendly, while the day before Norway play Russia in Moss.
Élise Bussaglia and Louisa Necib were the first to force Hjelmseth into action before the Norway goalkeeper had to be at her best to deny Marie-Laure Delie. The Norway defence stood firm until the break, yet in the second half it was breached. Delie's powerful strike came back off the crossbar and Thiney was first to react to poke the ball in.
France coach Bruno Bini and opposite number Even Pellerud made several changes in the second half, with Viviane Asseyi handed her first Les Bleues cap. France were undeterred by the absence of centre-back Wendie Renard through illness but held on in the second half to win their second game in a row without conceding following a 4-0 triumph over Finland on 1 June.
"We won another of those hard-fought friendlies," said France coach Bini. "We struggled with our fitness but this was expected. The three days off will help the girls to recover. Our team play was good except in the middle." Goalscorer Thiney hailed the "great atmosphere" of playing in front of 11,200 fans. "It gives us strength before going to Sweden," she said.
Russia are France's opening opponents in Group C on 12 July, 24 hours after Norway face Iceland to begin Group B.
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