Swedes hold France to yet another draw

10th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 9 (AFP) - France drew their fifth successive match here at the Stade de France on Wednesday being held 1-1 by an enterprising Sweden.

PARIS, Feb 9 (AFP) - France drew their fifth successive match here at the Stade de France on Wednesday being held 1-1 by an enterprising Sweden.

One consolation for the hosts was that they scored their first goal in over four matches through David Trezeguet - taking him to joint second in the all-time French scorers list on 30 - while Sweden had taken the lead through Freddie Ljungberg celebrating his 50th appearance for the visitors.

The hosts had a late effort by Thierry Henry ruled out while his Arsenal team-mate Patrick Vieira was fortunate to stay on the pitch in the first-half after blatantly elbowing Marcus Allback.

Although the final whistle was greeted with boos by the home fans there was much to be optimistic about after an impressive first-half display which coach Raymond Domenech seized on.

"It was good," said Domenech, who has virtually had to rebuild the team since taking over from Jacques Santini after they went out of Euro 2004 in the quarter-finals.

"We suffered a bit to start with against a good side but we showed good things and we are definitely evolving.

"We were maybe not as fresh in the second-half.

"I tell you what though if we could have a 10-0 win we would take it!"

France started the brightest with Henry ghosting into the box in the third minute but Teddy Lucic managed to dispossess him before he could get his shot in.

Ljungberg struck in the 11th minute as good build-up by the Swedes saw Allback's rasping shot come back off the post but the Arsenal star was on hand to react faster than William Gallas and prod it into the goal.

France's first really flowing movement came in the 18th minute as Benoit Pedretti's delightful chip forward found Henry, who chested it down to Trezeguet but under pressure he fired just wide with Andreas Isaakson beaten.

The French were on fire and three minutes later Ludovic Giuly had a great chance to make it all square but having found space in the area he took one touch too many and fired it wide.

The French appealed in vain for a penalty in the 29th minute when Henry, released by Vikash Dhorasoo, slipped inside one defender then got tapped by the second one but despite going down referee Julian Rodriguez Santana refused to give it.

Vieira was lucky to stay on the pitch when he clearly elbowed Allback leading to the 31-year-old having to go off for treatment but Rodriguez Santana failed to see the offence.

Trezeguet though headed France deservedly level in the 36th minute getting in ahead of Alexander Ostlund, after Henry crossed in from the right.

The outstanding Dhorasoo produced more trickery in the 40th minute as he passed inside to an unmarked Gallas in the penalty area but showing the shooting skills of a defender he shot poorly into the side netting.

Henry tested Isaakson early in the second-half as his looped header forced the Rennes 'keeper to tip the ball over the bar for a corner.

Sweden didn't allow the constant pressure to ruffle them unduly but the visitors captain Olof Mellberg couldn't keep the ball down when presented with an opportunity in the 54th minute and volleyed it over the bar.

The bright young talent of Markus Rosenberg shone in the 58th minute as he cut inside and made his way into the area but his shot lacked the necessary power and Gregory Coupet safely gathered it.

Coupet saved the blushes of Gallas in the 62nd minute when the ball deflected off his boot but the Lyon keeper dived sharply to his right to save.

Coupet, in for the ill Fabien Barthez, was even better a minute later when he somehow kept out Christian Wilhelmsson's point blank header and again Gallas seemed to panic and with an idle flick of the ball almost put it past his 'keeper.

Gallas showed himself to more positive effect in the 65th minute when he broke down the left and cut the ball back for Giuly whose fierce shot from outside the area was superbly tipped over the bar by Isaakson.

Henry had a goal disallowed in the 73rd minute for kicking the ball out of Isaakson's hands after the Swedish keeper had brilliantly kept out Camel Meriem's fierce shot and then grabbed the ball at the second attempt.


Subject: French News

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