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1 June 2012
• Stade Auguste-Delaune II, Reims
Referee: K. Kircher
• Attendance: 19000
F. Ribéry 11'
F. Malouda 16'
90' + 2'
FULL-TIME: FRANCE 2-0 SERBIA
90' + 1'
Radovanovic fires in a free-kick, curls around the wall and into Lloris' arms - into two minutes of added time.
What have England learnt this evening? More questions than ones that have been answered for Roy Hodgson. France have been electric this evening, especially in the first half. Tailed off in the second, but Hodgson may have been buoyed by M'Vila's absence.
Laurent Koscielny has had a faultless performance tonight, in only his second cap for the national team. He's taken every ball that has come his way. Late charge to replace Mexes at the Euros?
TOMIC! Crisp shot. Brilliant chance from the Partizan man. Given time outside the box, and fires one in. Flies over the bar harmlessly.
Ninkov threads a through ball to substitute Tomic, on for Tadic. But he is whistled offside by the German referee. France have recorded 56% possession thus far.
Half-hearted chances being taken at the moment, with little to report, as both sides seek to just run down the clock. Spirits are being raised by 'Daddy Cool' being played in the stands.
Good news! Yann M'Vila is back on the bench, sitting next to Yohan Cabaye. Maybe not as bad as first thought. His right ankle is heavily strapped however. He will have a scan tonight.
Serbia are on the verge of making it one win in seven, with the 2-0 win against Armenia their sole triumph. In contrast, France are close to their 20th game unbeaten.
Ben Arfa dribbles past his marker but runs into the brick wall that is Rajkovic. The Newcastle winger is back in the national team after a two year hiatus.
Darko Lazovic is on for Bosko Jankovic here in Reims. 13 minutes to go.
Hatem Ben Arfa
The flow of the game has been punctuated with the number of substitutions in the second half. Pretty normal for an international friendly played just before a major tournament. Hatem Ben Arfa on for Florent Malouda.
Tadic attempts a left-footed shot after latching onto Ninkov's pass. Lloris does well to save, as he has done pretty much all evening. Tadic has been one of the better Serbian players on show this evening.
France readying a fifth substitution. It's Rami who is warming up, which obviously means it's Mexes that is going off. He's had a decent game, but again Mexes has been suspect with a few challenges. 19 minutes for Blanc to check out the combination of Rami and Koscielny.
Menez pulled back for handball, which he believes was accidental. The ball came back off the winger who had no chance of moving his hand away there. He was open too.
Ninkov spreads play towards Tadic who challenges with Mexes. A push from the former sees a free kick given to the latter.
Yellow Card Philippe Mexes
Oufff. Mexes clatters into Srdjan Mijailovic. The referee Knut Kircher was standing right beside them too. Terrible foul, and it's a yellow card for the Milan defender. Mijailovic's international debut. A welcoming tackle.
France doing well to keep their resurgent visitors at bay. Martin and Giroud combine to press Serbia on the right wing, but they can't force through a chance.
Aleksandr Kolarov also replaces Mladenovic. Mihajlovic will be hoping that the substitutions can boost Serbia.
Franck Ribery also is withdrawn in favour of Jeremy Menez. A wondrous shift from the Bayern winger. Superb hour he's had. He retreats to the bench with a smile.
Yohan Cabaye is off for Marvin Martin, with Karim Benzema withdrawn in favour of Olivier Giroud.
Substitutions: Lubomir Fejsa comes off for Radovanovic. Matic is off for Mijailovic.
Olivier Giroud set to come on for France. The Montpellier striker made a massive impact on Saturday, making two assists.
Ribery outruns Rajkovic to chase down a loose ball, but Brkic again thwarts him, though Maksimovic delayed him a little.
M'VILA UPDATE: French TV channel TF1 reporting that M'Vila is still in changing rooms at stadium and will undergo a scan on his ankle later tonight.
Open game, this. Cabaye drills the ball towards Nasri who in turn lifts it over the Serbian defence and in towards Benzema. Headed away, and the move breaks down after Malouda fouls Fejsa.
KOSCIELNY! Shot flies over. The Arsenal man takes possession of the ball after a poor clearance from the corner. It's fired over. Nice turn and shot from Koscielny though.
IVANOVIC! Great free-kick, and well saved by Lloris who tips it over the bar. Took a deflection off Malouda though. Corner is wasted, and France are on the break.....
Philippe Mexes reprimanded for leaving his foot too high when challenging for the ball. Free-kick to Serbia, and Ivanovic is over this one.....
Tadic gets the second half to a good start in Reims, evading his marker and getting to the by-line in the French penalty box. Later dispossessed by Clichy.
UNDERWAY IN THE SECOND HALF! France lead 2-0.
Yoann Gourcuff could be in line for a sensational return to the national team just days after he was cut from the France squad for Euro 2012. Should M'Vila not make the trip to Poland and Ukraine, the Lyon midfielder could well earn a reprieve.
Serbia have been a mess this evening. The White Eagles lost 2-0 to Spain on Saturday with a decent performance, but tonight has seen their tactics fail horribly. France have picked them apart on numerous occasions and leaving them open on the break. Serbia already on their summer holidays?
The half started pretty badly for France with Yann M'Vila limping off injured after just four minutes, with TV cameras showing the Rennes man in tears after being helped off by two physios. Things got much brighter for les Bleus as Franck Ribery and Florent Malouda powered in a double to put Blanc's men in sight of 20 games unbeaten. Nevertheless, it could've been more with Serbia rarely troubling Hugo Lloris in Reims. 2-0 to France HT
HALF-TIME: France 2-0 Serbia (Ribery 11' Malouda 16')
Bosko Jankovic over the free-kick for Serbia. The Genoa midfielder, making his 31st appearance for the national team, is denied by Lloris who takes it with an easy save.
Real Madrid fan: This is the defence which Blanc must play at the Euro but only with Debuchy at right back in place of Reveillere.
REVEILLIERE! On the half volley, and his shot goes narrowly wide. The French are putting on a real show tonight. The Lyon right-back tries his luck with a low shot from the edge of the box, and Brkic sees it go inches past.
MALOUDA! Should've been three. Two attacks in seconds, and France should've increased their tally. Low cross from Nasri causes all sort of havoc in the Serbia box and Malouda's shot is well blocked by Brkic.
RIBERY! France hit on the counter again, and it's almost three. The Bayern winger is having an absolute stormer this evening with another cross. Benzema retrieves the ball but can't back-heel the ball past Brkic.
Serbia are recovering from their early setbacks with a number of attacks the other way. Fejsa's delivery from the wing cannot materialise into a decent chance.
France have a massive 69% share of possession against Serbia, with ten shots to the visitors' two. Remember to get involved, tweet @mohammedali_93 for your messages.
CABAYE! Fierce shot from the Newcastle midfielder as he fires a threatening low shot towards Brkic. Takes a heavy deflection off Branislav Ivanovic, and goes out for a corner.
Filip Mladenovic for Serbia attempts to make headway in the opposite half. Diarra allows him to escape, but the 20 year old takes on one too many men and is soon dispossessed.
CLICHY! Over. But another decent move for France who are playing well admittedly. Cabaye forces the ball towards Benzema who in turn has a shot blocked. Clichy tries his luck, and sees it fly over Brkic's goal.
Corner to France. Ribery hesitates in attempting a volley, but Serbia have their respite with referee Knut Kircher opting for a free-kick after a foul on Maksimovic.
Fantastic atmosphere in Reims, as the French crowd warm to their national team with a melodic playing of 'Eye of the Tiger'. On the pitch, a speculative long ball towards Benzema is thwarted.
Malouda finds Benzema who has temporarily taken to the right wing. A fine pass towards Ribery is blocked by the defender, but Ribery unexpectedly puts the ball back into the box and it's cleared.
France's high-pressure tactics are giving Mihajlovic's men a headache. Another quick attack locates Nasri on the right, and after dribbling past his marker, he drags his shot wide. Promising.
Cross comes in from the left by Fejsa, headed away by Mexes and it's Ninkov who tamely fires in on the volley. Lloris saves well to that. Sporadic Serbian attacks at the moment in Reims. Only their second shot on target.
No let up from the hosts who continue to lay siege on the Serbian goal. Nasri and Benzema embark on a one-two, though the move fails to materialise as Brkic clears hurriedly.
Cabaye was briefly winded after a tackle from Ninkov. But the Newcastle man is back on his feet. A good high-pressure attacking football deployed by France. A world away from the sluggish start that haunted them against Iceland.
Malouda's strike was timed at 98 kilometres per hour. Pick that one out folks.
Serbia attempt to try and assert their waning authority on the match, with Scepovic dribbling his way into the box, but his development curtailed with an efficient tackle.
Serbia opened up again after Nasri threads a delightful through ball from deep in midfield in towards Benzema who evades the challenge of Ivanovic. Brkic at the ready to clear away.
Assist Anthony Réveillère
Goal Florent Malouda
GOOALL!! FRANCE MAKE IT 2-0! What an absolute sweet strike from Chelsea's Florent Malouda. Given time and space to spot his angle, and strikes from distance to beat Brkic and make it 2-0 inside a quarter of an hour.
Rajkovic was the man on the goal-line who helped Ribery's goal in. He was also the man who was dispossessed in the lead up to Malouda's second. Not a great night for him in Reims.
France almost double their lead. A sumptuous ball from the midfield finds Benzema who tries to chip Brkic, but the goalkeeper turns it around for a corner. Good opening for les Bleus!
Ribery revealed last week that he was teased by team-mates for not scoring for the national team for three years. The Bayern man now has two goals in two! Like London buses, you wait.....
Assist Gael Clichy
Goal Franck Ribéry
GOOALLL!! 1-0 FRANCE! Clichy surges forward on the left flank and provides a cross into the box. Brkic palms it away from his goal, and Franck Ribery powers a half-volley into the back of the net. It came off Hamburg's Slobodan Rajkovic. But Ribery won't care.
Serbia attempt to break on the counter through Jankovic, with Scepovic providing the option on the wing. Mexes comes across to power the ball away.
After that M'Vila setback, France attack in numbers. Diarra reclaims the ball in midfield, with Nasri pulling the strings for Benzema, but Brkic is alert of any danger.
A sorry sight. Yann M'Vila injured, and in tears on the bench. He probably knows that he will not face England in Donetsk on June 11. Alou Diarra will come on for les Bleus. But what a blow that is for Blanc's men.
Yann M'Vila collapses again in pain after that tackle from Tadic, and it appears that he will play no further part in this game. Limps off with the assistance of the physios.
From the free-kick, Branislav Ivanovic pings a ball forward, but it is caught out by Hugo Lloris. Meanwhile, an emerging story here...
Gael Clichy penalised for a rash challenge on Toulouse's Pavle Ninkov. Late challenge from the Man City man, who is lucky not to have been booked.
Disaster already for France, Yann M'Vila has gone down clutching his knee after a challenge. He's back though on the pitch after some medical attention.
UNDERWAY IN REIMS! France kick-off attacking from left to right, Serbia in the white.
International debuts for both Nikola Maksimović and Filip Mladenović, both of Red Star Belgrade. Tonight's referee is Knut Kircher of Germany,
TEAM NEWS: Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal wins his second cap this evening, with Patrice Evra dropped in favour of Man City's Gael Clichy. Florent Malouda returns in place of Hatem Ben Arfa, as Karim Benzema keeps his place ahead of the impressive Olivier Giroud. For Serbia, Toulouse's Pavle Ninkov gets the nod, with Chelsea's Champions League winner Branislav Ivanovic the star attraction for the visitors.
SERBIA: Brkic, Ivanovic, Maksimovic, Rajkovic, Ninkov, Fejsa, Matic, Mladenovic, Tadic, Jankovic, Scepovic
FRANCE: Lloris; Reveillere, Koscielny, Mexes, Clichy; Cabaye, M'Vila, Malouda; Nasri, Benzema, Ribery
CONFIRMED TEAM LINE-UPS
Serbia meanwhile enter the contest in controversy. Manager Sinisa Mihajlovic has dropped Adem Ljajic for not singing the national anthem against Spain in St Gallen in Switzerland, where the White Eagles lost 2-0. Mihajlovic was quoted as saying in his press conference: "There are things that I cannot and will not tolerate. One of those things is not singing the national anthem. I think if someone wears the jersey of the national team, that they should represent our country to the full extent, in every aspect of the contract."
Since then however, there've been developments in the squad. Lyon';s Yoann Gourcuff and Montpellier's Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa have both been dropped, with the 23-man squad finalised before the May 29 deadline. They join injured Marseille striker Loic Remy in being omitted. Gourcuff played on Sunday evening, and was average at best as Blanc opts for Sochaux's Marvin Martin instead.
In Valenciennes on Sunday, France needed two late goals to narrowly beat Iceland, with Laurent Blanc given a defensive headache just over ten days until he leads les Bleus in battle at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk in England. The defensive duo of Philippe Mexes and Patrice Evra underperformed in the first half, leaving Lars Lagerback's minnows taking a 2-0 lead at the break. Being unbeaten for almost two years, France weren't about to lose their record, and Mathieu Debuchy, Franck Ribery and Adil Rami all duly netted in the second half to secure a 19th game unbeaten.
I'm Mohammed Ali, and again I'll be your host for this evening, bringing you live commentary from Valenciennes. Want to get involved? Sure you do. You ALWAYS do. So, hit me up on the good old Twitter - send your messages, comments, predictions and more to @mohammedali_93
Good evening! And welcome to Goal.com's LIVE! text commentary this evening. It's France v Serbia, from the Stade Auguste-Delaune II in Reims. Another step for les Bleus in their final preparations for Euro 2012. Team news shortly.
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