France 1-1 Sweden
David Trezeguet scored France's first goal on home soil since August, but it still was not enough to earn victory as Sweden held on to claim a deserved draw in this international friendly at the Stade de France.
It was France's fifth consecutive home draw, but after goalless matches against Poland, the Republic of Ireland and Israel, this result against a strong Sweden side will boost confidence ahead of FIFA World Cup meetings with Switzerland and Israel at the end of March.
Coach Raymond Domenech may still be looking for his first home win since replacing Jacques Santini in July, but he will take heart from a spirited revival after seeing his side fall behind to Fredrik Ljungberg's tenth-minute goal.
Sweden had hardly threatened in the opening stages, but they went ahead when a shot from Marcus Allbäck bounced off the post and fell invitingly to the Arsenal FC midfield player to fire his side in front.
But France responded in kind. Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Ludovic Giuly seized the initiative and some enterprising play deserved greater reward before the home side drew level on 35 minutes. Henry provided the cross and Trezeguet the execution, meeting his former AS Monaco FC team-mate's centre with a header to restore parity.
With playmaker Vikash Dhorasoo growing in confidence, France went looking for a second and William Gallas and Henry had further chances before half-time. After the restart, only the agility of Andreas Isaksson kept Sweden from falling behind on 49 minutes as he kept out an Henry header.
But Sweden, led from the back by the superb Olof Mellberg, kept France at bay in an evenly balanced second period. On 64 minutes Marcus Rosenberg came close with a header for Sweden under pressure from Gallas, but the alert Grégory Coupet gathered. Then, just three minutes later, Giuly's shot was brilliantly kept out by Isaksson.
But a tight contest slowed to a stalemate, leaving both coaches with positives to take from the match. "We're progressing, we're building, we're getting better each time," said Domenech. Sweden coach Lars Lagerbäck, whose World Cup qualifying Group 8 leaders next travel to Bulgaria on 26 March, said: "Overall I am very pleased. We played a very strong side and came out with a draw."
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