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Corinne Diacre marked her 100th appearance for France with a fine display as the FIFA Women's World Cup hopefuls got their bid to reach the 2005 UEFA European Women's Championship off to a comfortable start with a 4-0 victory against Hungary at the Széktöi stadium in Kecskemét.
Pichon pinches one
The French are strongly fancied to win Group 3, although they will face stiff competition from Russia, and they showed why with two goals in each half. Elisabeth Loisel had hoped for an early goal to settle any nerves and she got just that when Philadelphia Charge striker Marinette Pichon converted a Sonia Bompastor pass in the second minute from ten metres.
Lattaf's last laugh
For all their pressure, it looked as though that would be the only goal of the first half. But France are nothing if not persistent and Hoda Lattaf struck the first of her two goals in the first minute of added time, reacting first to a Diacre free-kick which rebounded off a post. Any hopes of a Hungarian comeback were dashed in the 56th minute when Pichon drilled home a fierce free-kick from the edge of the box and Lattaf completed the scoring in the 86th minute.
Coach Loisel said: "That was our worst display for a while. We scored quickly and then we took the easy way out and were brought down to Hungary's level. We were not able to step up a gear when it was required and that is why we were often second best in the tackles." Her opposite number, the Hungary coach István Bacsó, added: "Although we have lost I am happy with the performance of my players, they fought well."
France are next in action on 8 September with Iceland the visitors. Prior to that game Iceland tackle Hungary at home on 14 June. Russia's campaign begins on Sunday at home to Poland.
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