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France gets cold shower in final warm-up against China

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-06-05

France suffered a surprise defeat (0-1) against China, considered a far weaker team, in its final warm-up match just one week before the start of the World Cup.

REUTERS - France slumped to a surprise 1-0 defeat by China in their final World Cup warm-up on Friday.

The former world champions, playing on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion for the first time, did nothing to suggest they could make an impact at the June 11-July 11 finals in South Africa.

China, who did not qualify for the World Cup, scored against the run of play in the 68th minute through midfielder Deng Zhuoxiang's 25-metre free kick.

France, who frustrated 10,000 enthusiastic, flag-waving fans packing the small stadium of the tropical island's second-largest city, now fly to South Africa where they will face the hosts, Mexico and Uruguay in Group A.

Like he had for the 2-1 warm-up win over Costa Rica and a 1-1 draw with Tunisia, France coach Raymond Domenech left former captain Thierry Henry out of his team and opted for a 4-3-3 system instead of the usual 4-2-3-1. France looked promising at first and centre back William Gallas had a goal ruled offside on 13 minutes.

The hosts had most of the possession but created few clear chances until threatening with a low drive from the edge of the box by playmaker Yoann Gourcuff that keeper Zeng Cheng did well to save on 33 minutes.

A Gallas header then went narrowly wide before France stepped up a gear after the break, Gallas going close again with a header just over the bar.

France kept pushing for an equaliser in the closing stages and substitute Abou Diaby fired wide with a powerful, low shot from the edge of the area nine minutes from time.

Domenech's men play their first World Cup match against Uruguay on June 11 in Cape Town.

Date created : 2010-06-04

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