France 1-0 USA: Loic Remy effort gives Laurent Blanc's side slender friendly victory
In a largely scrappy game, Loic Remy grabbed his fourth international goal as Les Bleus edged past Jurgen Klinsmann's men in Paris
By Mohammed Ali
A competitive first half meant for few chances in Paris. The second half was to be a much-improved spectacle as Karim Benzema's effort came back off the bar before Loic Remy's 72nd minute goal.
The Americans, however, could only muster meagre attempts in a largely scrappy showing. A late chance from debutant Olivier Giroud was to be spurned, as France hung on for the 1-0 win.
Fresh from qualifying for the Euro 2012 finals last month, Laurent Blanc opted for a shake-up of the side, allowing fringe players such as Jeremy Mathieu and Laurent Koscielny to prove their worth in the friendlies in the build-up to the championships.
It was Les Bleus who hit the ground running in the opening few minutes, with Franck Ribery and Jeremy Menez illustrating their attacking intentions early on. With much of the early play situated on the left wing, the PSG winger failed to seriously trouble Timothy Chandler.
The visitors grew in stature despite a sluggish start, with Jozy Altidore going down under a challenge from Koscielny, drawing jeers from an unimpressed French faithful.
Lille's Mathieu Debuchy displayed his strength at right-back as he powered past challengers before being upended by Chandler. Moments later, The 26-year-old sent in a threatening low cross to which Ribery unsuccessfully back-heeled wide of Tim Howard's goal.
A competitive and slightly disappointing first-half looked to be limping towards the interval before Ribery pulled the crowd drawing in Menez, who could only lift his shot well over the bar. Karim Benzema then sought an opening, but could only glance his effort past Howard via Carlos Bocangera as the half ended goalless.
Jurgen Klinsmann's men were rather profligate, and didn't look to be succeeding in their efforts in the second period. Maurice Edu was booked for a nasty lunge on Alou Diarra as his side failed to retain the ball in key parts of the midfield.
Les Bleus came close to breaking the deadlock on 52 minutes as Benzema shattered the bar following good work by Adil Rami. The Real Madrid star went close seconds later as his well-struck free-kick was saved by Howard.
The USA could only muster a speculative effort from Timothy Chandler, as France pushed for a goal. And after 72 minutes, their perseverance had paid off. Substitute Loic Remy, on for Ribery, latched well onto a lofted through ball before easily out-muscling Clarence Goodson and burying the ball past Howard.
The visitors' finishing again left more to be desired. Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey strung passes together, with the latter firing high from a free-kick after being upended by Koscielny. The impact of substitute Edson Buddle enabled a tense finish, but Les Bleus hung on for a narrow victory.
Laurent Blanc's men next host Belgium in an international friendly on Tuesday, with the USA travelling to face Slovenia in a rematch of their controversial World Cup 2010 encounter.
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