France beats Denmark 2-0 in World Cup warm-up

1st June 2006, Comments 0 comments

LENS, France, May 31, 2006 (AFP) - Goals in either half from Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord boosted home hopes of World Cup success this summer with a 2-0 warm-up friendly win over Denmark in northern France on Wednesday.

LENS, France, May 31, 2006 (AFP) - Goals in either half from Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord boosted home hopes of World Cup success this summer with a 2-0 warm-up friendly win over Denmark in northern France on Wednesday.

Returning to the Felix-Bollaert stadium where he made his international debut nine years ago, Arsenal striker Henry found the net after 13 minutes when he deflected in a Louis Saha header.

And substitute Wiltord added the second after 76 minutes from a penalty.

The win was greeted with a warmer response from the home crowd than their 1-0 victory over Mexico in Paris last weekend, with cheers of "Allez les Bleus! Allez les Bleus!" replacing the whistles and jeers of the Stade de France.

France coach Raymond Domenech made five substitutions as the 1998 champions prepare their push to reclaim the title they lost four years ago in Germany when they open their World Cup campaign against Switzerland in Stuttgart on June 13.

Their final warm-up match is against China at Saint Etienne on June 7.

"It's always good to win matches, but you have to remember they are still only friendlies," said Domenech.

"It's not about the team of all 11 now but the 23. We have to fine tune the team so that they learn to work together as a unit."

He added: "We still have one match left and after that the breaking-in period will be over and it's down to business."

The French pushed hard pinning back the Danes with Henry having a fruitless early run at goal with a free kick from captain Zinedine Zidane after seven minutes flying over the bar.

But as the hosts continued to push forward the pressure paid off with Henry netting his 32nd goal for France when he deflected in Saha's effort through the feet of advancing Denmark goalie Jesper Christiansen.

An immediate counter offensive from the Danes failed to reap rewards with a Christian Poulsen header missing the target.

Christiansen shortly made up for his earlier blunder on 19 minutes when he held a Zidane free kick after Lyon midfielder Florent Malouda was left clutching his leg following a rough tackle from Denmark skipper Thomas Helve.

The Danes had a chance to draw level two minutes later with Barthez beaten and the French defence in disarray but Stuttgart striker Jon Dahl Tomasson could only watch as his effort flew past the post.

Henry missed a golden opportunity to double his tally after 29 minutes when he failed to finish off a cross from Malouda.

The Danes continued to push forward but their efforts failed to reduce the deficit when a Thomas Gravesen free kick just before the break landed straight in the gloves of Barthez.

Back after the break Henry again missed on 55 minutes and could only watch as the ball slid past the post.

France skipper Zidane was substituted by Franck Ribery after 65 minutes with the Real Madrid star playing one of his last games for the national side receiving an ovation from the crowd as he left the pitch.

Lyon striker Wiltord, who came off the bench to replace Saha after 55 minutes, stepped up to fire in past Christiansen after Poulsen brought down Ribery in the box.

The Danes pushed back with Barthez doing well to keep out a Soren Larsen effort 10 minutes from time, but the French held on with a last gasp effort from Djibril Cissé just missing the target.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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