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France put in a decent performance against Uruguay in their first friendly fixture under new coach Didier Deschamps, but could not find a goal, twice striking the frame of the goal in Le Havre.
For a fourth time in a succession, a game between these two nations ended goalless, though Uruguay's goal led something of a charmed life. Making his debut, Montpellier Hérault SC defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa saw his headed effort diverted on to a post by Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, while Karim Benzema also hit the frame of the goal at the other end after the break.
Uruguay are now unbeaten in 17 international games, but in the absence of star players Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani were forced on to the back foot in the first half by a France side featuring LOSC Lille Métropole skipper Rio Mavuba for the first time in over five years. The presence of debutant France right-back Christophe Jallet did not make the 2011 Copa América winners' task any easier, and it took until the final five minutes of the first half for Diego Forlán to conjure up their first chances.
By that stage, Yanga-Mbiwa had come close to scoring, and after the break, another player winning his first cap – half-time substitute Étienne Capoue – nearly sparked a breakthrough. The Toulouse FC man's cross found Matthieu Valbuena on 51 minutes, only for Muslera to field his effort.
Just before the hour, Benzema hit the woodwork, but Uruguay recovered their composure and almost snatched victory, with Hugo Lloris' reflexes helping him deny Sebastian Abreu as the 2010 FIFA World Cup semi-finalists struck at lightning speed on the break.
The 43-year-old Deschamps felt his side had the better of the chances, but added: "It was a bit more exciting towards the end. It's a pity we didn't score. It would have given us more confidence. However, bear in mind that against a team like Uruguay we showed up with seven players who have fewer than ten caps."
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