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France and Blanc up and running in Sarajevo

Bosnia and Herzegovina 0-2 France
Goals from Karim Benzema and Florent Malouda kick-started the visitors' Group D campaign and earned Laurent Blanc his first win as coach.

Karim Benzema (left) is congratulated after opening the scoring
Karim Benzema (left) is congratulated after opening the scoring ©AFP

France bounced back from the disappointment of an opening UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying defeat by Belarus with a 2-0 win against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Laurent Blanc had assumed the helm after a turbulent FIFA World Cup campaign but got off to an unexpectedly slow start in Paris on Friday. The former FC Girondins de Bordeaux coach now has his first win, though, and his side their first three Group D points, thanks to second-half goals from Karim Benzema and Florent Malouda.

It was evident from the off in Sarajevo that Les Bleus' spirit had not been dampened. Returning Real Madrid CF striker Benzema was particularly instrumental in the early stages, but goalkeeper Kenan Hasagić was equal to everything thrown at him.

Blanc's decision to thicken his midfield with captain Alou Diarra was evidently paying off as France continued to control possession, and the game, after half-time. Miralem Pjanić's free-kick served as a warning to Olympique Lyonnais team-mate Hugo Lloris, but it was not long before the visitors got their just reward for their earlier dominance.

Malouda fed Benzema, who flummoxed Elvir Rahimić, Safet Nadarević and Emir Spahić in one movement and finished with the aid of a deflection. Chelsea FC's Malouda finished off a swift counterattack to put the result beyond doubt six minutes later and lift his side's spirits ahead of the visit of Romania next month.