France fall along with hosts

France 1-2 South Africa Les Bleus were two behind and down to ten men by half-time and finished bottom of Group A while a win was not enough for the hosts.

Djibril Cissé (left) and Abou Diaby react to their impending elimination
Djibril Cissé (left) and Abou Diaby react to their impending elimination ©Getty Images

France's 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign is over after they were beaten 2-1 by hosts South Africa to finish bottom of Group A.

At kick-off France knew only a comfortable win and a positive result between Mexico and Uruguay would give the 2006 runners-up a chance of a knockout place. Although Uruguay did beat Mexico 1-0, France were two goals behind and down to ten men by half-time. Florent Malouda reduced arrears, but his team could not not avoid defeat in Raymond Domenech's last match in charge. South Africa are also out behind Mexico on goal difference.

Les Bleus were adrift on 20 minutes, Siphiwe Tshabalala's corner eluded Hugo Lloris and Bongani Khumalo headed in. Six minutes later, their troubles were compounded when Yoann Gourcuff was dismissed following an aerial challenge with MacBeth Sibaya.

It became 2-0 when Abou Diaby's clearance was intercepted by Katlego Mphela, who bundled the ball in despite Gaël Clichy's efforts. Franck Ribéry nearly pulled one back when his crossed free-kick missed everyone other than diving goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs, while at the other end Lloris stopped Mphela's effort from distance.

With Uruguay taking the lead against Mexico just before half-time, South Africa were suddenly in serious contention to go through. Early in the second period Mphela smashed a shot against the crossbar and soon afterwards was denied again by an impressive Lloris save.

However, France effectively ended the hosts' hopes with 21 minutes left when substitute Malouda turned the ball into an empty net after Ribéry had broken through and squared, but for Les Blues it was only a consolation. France, under new coach Laurent Blanc, will now turn their thoughts to UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying, starting at home to Belarus on 3 September with Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Luxembourg also in Group D.

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