France closer to elimination after draw

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Defending champion France teetered on the brink of elimination from the World Cup after a 0-0 draw against Uruguay in Group A.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
  • Total Shares


Defending champion France teetered on the brink of elimination from the World Cup after a 0-0 draw today against Uruguay in Group A. The scoreless draw left France without a goal in its first two games following an opening 1-0 loss to Senegal. France faces Denmark in its final Group A match, with Uruguay facing Senegal. The last defending champion eliminated in the first round was Brazil in 1966. France, which played from the 25th minute with only 10 men when Thierry Henry was sent off on a questionable red card, again had to do without its injured star and the world's most expensive player, midfielder Zinedine Zidane. "All of France saw the team gave everything it had, with 10 players against 11,'' said coach Roger Lemerre. "There is still hope. We are going to have to play a good match against Denmark, but it is possible. It's true that we didn't score against Senegal and we didn't score against Uruguay. But we have hope''. France and Uruguay each have one point, while Denmark and Senegal have four. To have any chance of advancing, France and Uruguay would have to win their final matches. This would leave all four teams with four points, with goal difference and then goals scored deciding which two teams advance to the second round. France had more of the possession in the game despite being a man short and had a sterling chance to score in the first half. It also had a flurry of chances early in the second half against the South Americans. Uruguay also had more than enough possibilities. "We struggled to find our game in the beginning, I think we were a little unsure of ourselves. But we played much better as the game went. We should have scored at the end but all in all, it was a fair draw,'' said Uruguay coach Victor Pua. The French were stunned after just 25 minutes when Thierry Henry was shown the red card by Mexican referee Felipe Ramos Rizo. The midfielder will be suspended for the next match. Henry was sent off for a high challenge on Uruguay's Marcelo Romero. He went in with his studs up, although the tackle did not seem particularly flagrant. To add to France's woes, defender Frank Leboeuf went off in the 16th with a groin injury, replaced by Vincent Candela. Uruguay had its best first-half scoring chance in the 18th minute when Alvaro Recoba, taking a pass off the right wing from Dario Silva, shot low from 20 metres. The ball changed direction slightly off the foot of French defender Lilian Thurman with goalkeeper Fabien Barthez sticking out his right foot to stop the shot as he was moving to his left, fooled by the deflection. Emmanuel Petit had France's best scoring opportunity with a free kick from 20 metres in the 35th. The twisting shot just clipped the post on the outside as Uruguay's 'keeper Fabian Carini dived to his left to defend. The rugged match saw chance after chance missed in an eight-minute span early in the second half with Alvaro Recoba coming close twice in the 52nd - hitting the side of the net on a wide-angled shot with French 'keeper Fabien Barthez faked out and leaving the net wide open. France nearly pulled the game out at the start of injury time when Bixente Lizarazu sent a through-ball to Sylvain Wiltord, who shot high from close in. A minute later at the other end, Federico Magallanes closed down alone on Barthez and blasted a shot point-blank from 15 metres that Barthez stopped with his left foot, saving the little chance France has of advancing. (AP) Lineup:France: 16-Fabien Barthez, 3-Bixente Lizarazu, 8-Marcel Desailly (C), 18-Frank Leboeuf (2-Vincent Candela, 16), 15-Lilian Thuram, 17-Emmanuel Petit, 4-Patrick Vieira, 22-Johan Micoud, 11-Sylvain Wiltord (21-Christophe Dugarry, 90), 12-Thierry Henry, 20-David Trezeguet (9-Djibril Cisse, 81) Uruguay: 1-Fabian Carini, 14-Gonzalo Sorondo, 4-Paolo Montero (C), 3-Alejandro Lembo, 16-Marcelo Romero (22-Gonzalo de los Santos, 71), 8-Gustavo Varela, 5-Pablo Garcia, 6-Dario Rodriguez (7-Gianni Guigou, 72), 20-Alvaro Recoba, 13-Sebastian Abreu, 9-Dario Silva (11-Federico Magallanes, 60)

For the latest Sports news , like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and get the NDTV Cricket app for Android or iOS

  • Football

Leave a comment