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Hopefuls draw a blank in Paris

Published: Saturday 12 November 2005, 20.15CET
France 0-0 Germany Neither side broke through in the French capital although the visitors created the clearer chances.
by Christian Châtelet
from Paris

Published: Saturday 12 November 2005, 20.15CET

Hopefuls draw a blank in Paris

France 0-0 Germany Neither side broke through in the French capital although the visitors created the clearer chances.

France 0-0 Germany
Europe's finalists from the last two FIFA World Cups were unable to find a goal between them at the Stade de France, although Germany will be marginally more satisfied having held the upper hand for the majority of the match.

Coupet class
Germany, who are staging next summer's finals, therefore ended a three-game losing streak against their opponents, who were unable to find a way through a solid visiting rearguard. Indeed the better chances fell to Germany, who found Olympique Lyonnais' Grégory Coupet an unbeatable presence in the home goal at crucial moments.

Unfamiliar role
Having rallied from two goals down to defeat Costa Rica 3-2 in Martinique on Wednesday, France made several changes, the most surprising of which was the introduction of FC Bayern München right-back Willy Sagnol to midfield ahead of Anthony Réveillère. David Trezeguet was back after a thigh injury but Patrick Vieira missed out with a groin problem and Coupet replaced Fabien Barthez in goal. Against the 1998 winners, three-time world champions Germany fielded a young defence that featured Arne Friedrich, Robert Huth, Arne Mertesacker and Marcell Jansen while Christoph Metzelder was injured and Jens Lehmann came in for Oliver Kahn.

Germany on top
Jürgen Klinsmann's selection initially looked the more dynamic as his team gained the early ascendancy. Sebastian Deisler's right-wing cross found Lukas Podolski, whose strike from the edge of the box flew over on 14 minutes. The 1. FC Köln striker missed the target again a few minutes later with a free-kick as Germany, thanks to Michael Ballack's clever promptings, largely controlled the first 45 minutes although Thierry Henry did shoot narrowly wide shortly before half-time having controlled a long Lilian Thuram pass on his chest.

Even second half
The Arsenal FC striker was replaced by Nicolas Anelka at half-time while Bastian Schweinsteiger replaced Deisler, and both substitutes were quickly involved. Anelka created an opening for Trezeguet seven minutes into the second period but the Juventus striker was undone by a bumpy pitch, before two Schweinsteiger efforts from distance tested Coupet. Ballack then failed to find the net with a difficult header when Miroslav Klose looked better placed before French substitute Djibril Cissé spurned the game's final opportunity as the two sides drew a blank in their final match of 2005.

Last updated: 15/04/12 4.46CET

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