Laurent Blanc’s new look France side helped bury the memory of their failed World Cup with a vibrant performance to beat England 2-1 at Wembley Stadium.
Karim Benzema opened the scoring with a well worked goal, while Mathieu Valbuena doubled the lead with a goal in the second half. Peter Crouch pulled a goal back to add some respectability to the score line for England, but the French were a much superior team on the night and fully deserved their victory.

France started the better team, holding possession well and giving England’s midfield duo of Gareth Barry and Jordan Henderson a very difficult time. Henderson in particular struggled with the dynamic French midfield.

The scoring was opened after 16 minutes when France took a well-deserved lead. Benzema picked up possession and advanced into the penalty area before playing a slick one-two with Florent Malouda and sliding the ball into the bottom corner past Ben Foster.

England posed a threat through the physical presence of Carroll, and occasionally the pace of Walcott but it was France who continued to carry the play before going into half time with a deserved lead.

Fabio Capello made some changes at half time, including the introduction of Adam Johnson and Ashley Young. While England’s personnel changed, the pattern of the game did not and France doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second half. Arsenal right back Bacary Sagna marauded down the left and sent over a good cross for Valbuena to ghost in between the England defenders and turn home.

Samir Nasri hit the post when presented with a chance, and then things got worse for England fans when Captain Steven Gerrard limped off to be replaced by Peter Crouch. Crouch prodded home an Ashley Young corner to give England fans brief hope, but it was too little too late on what was a disappointing night for the Three Lions.


FRA – Karim Benzema (Florent Malouda) 16’
FRA – Mathieu Valbuena (Bacary Sagna) 55’
ENG – Peter Crouch (Ashley Young) 86’


ENG – Foster, Jagielka, Gibbs (Warnock 72), Ferdinand (Richards 46), Lescott, Gerrard (Crouch 84), Walcott (A Johnson 46), Henderson, Barry (Young 46), Milner, Carroll (Bothroyd 72).

FRA – Lloris, Sagna (Reveillere 86), Rami, Mexes (Sakho 46), Abidal, Gourcuff (Hoarau 85), Nasri, Malouda (Payet 77), M’Vila, Benzema (Remy 67), Valbuena (Diarra 68).

Att: 85, 495