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June 3, 2011
• Stadyen Dynama, Minsk
Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan
• Attendance: 26500
E. Abidal 20' (own goal)
F. Malouda 22'
It's goodbye from me tonight, but be sure to follow all of tonight's Euro 2012 action and reaction on Goal.com this evening and over the weekend.
90' + 2'
That's it! It's over in Minsk, and the game has ended honours even. From France's point of view, they've taken a step towards Euro 2012, but their performance was poor, and the hosts merited their point.
90' + 1'
Only two minutes of stoppage time to be played.
Vyacheslav Hleb enters in place of Timofei Kalachev. This is a time wasting exercise.
The crowd roars as Omelyanchuk marches onto a lay off 25 yards out and has a shot, but their enthusiasm is damped as the shot harmlessly bobbles wide.
Yellow Card Sergei Veremko
Putilo goes off and Kislyak comes on for the hosts.
Benzema has the ball in the net, but he will be thwarted by the offside flag too. Ribery's clipped pass was lovely, and the finish was neat too.
France still trying to make the play, but there's not much energy in their offensive play at present. It seems that they'd also settle for a point.
REMY!!! The Marseille striker pounced on a mistake in the home defence, leaving Verkhovtsov sprawling. A controversial free kick is awarded against the striker, though he butted the chance against the goalkeeper in any case.
Belarus seem to be settling for a draw, and France haven't shown signs of the craft required to break them down.
France remain on the front foot, but their decision making around the box has been lamentable today. After a really incisive run, Nasri plays a very tough ball to Malouda, who can't reach the pass.
No surprise here; it's Alou Diaby who makes way for in-form Remy.
Remy is preparing to enter the game.
Belarus have rarely threatened in the second half, but Bordachev musters a shot from the edge of the box. His effort is tugged badly wide of goal.
Another chance squandered! Malouda finds himself in an excellent position down the right channel, but elects to pass instead of shoot. That was a little casual, and it was a poor decision in any case. The danger is cleared.
Benzema again, and that's better play from France! Nasri holds the ball up superbly after a sine first touch, but Benzema's finish lacked authority even though it found the target.
BENZEMA! Belarus give the ball away cheaply in the middle of the park, allowing France to spring. Benzema can't quite shake off Martynovich, who made his final shot tough. Veremko saved comfortably to his right.
Ribery takes over from Malouda, but his corner is poor. Nevertheless, the ball breaks to Diaby, who clumsily evades one challenge but ultimately can't force the ball goalwards from inside the box.
The corner is dangerous, and Belarus can only clear so that they'll defend an identical situation.
BENZEMA! Good period of pressure from France, culminating in a dangerous raid from Benzema down the left. His shot from a tight angle is deflected over.
Poor play from Adil Rami, who mistimed a challenge, but Sagna is round to mop up the danger. The Arsenal right-back is having a fine game.
France have the ball in the net, but Malouda's tap-in is disallowed after Ribery was flagged offside. It was a marginal call, but probably the right one on first viewing.
The Chelsea man takes the corner, but it's a dreadful one, barely getting above ground level. France maintain their pressure, but a dangerous Ribery pass is intercepted.
Malouda wins a corner after a purposeful run down the right.
Les Bleus could really use a centre forward. Benzema keeps dropping off, leaving no one in attack. Laurent Blanc must already be thinking of Loic Remy and Kevin Gameiro.
France's attacks continue to break down around the box. Aside from the goal, they've not had an effort on goal.
Bordachev is on the receiving end of a strong challenge from Malouda. Though the free kick is awarded, the winger doesn't get the yellow card his challenge perhaps deserved.
It's a rather scrappy start to the second period, with a great deal of play breaking up in the middle of the field.
Diaby heads the corner clear. France gain comfortable possession in the middle of the field.
Shitov drifts out to the right, and as he tries to cross, Abidal gets a leg out to block his centre, conceding a corner.
Verkhovtsov covers across well after Ribery again threatened to break down the left flank. That was an important sliding challenge.
Ribery immediately goes on a run down the left flank, drawing a throw in deep in Belarusian territory.
France get the second half underway.
45' + 1'
Half time! Belarus took a deserved lead after 20 minutes, but France replied immediately through Malouda. Les Bleus can count themselves somewhat fortunate to be level at the break, and better will be required after the break if they're to win this game.
Trubilo is down receiving treatment. He was fouled by Diarra 40 yards out, just right of centre. Ultimately he limps off, but France have a free kick to defend.
Since France scored, the threat of Belarus has certainly been quelled to a greater extent.
Ribery does well to win a free kick 30 yards from goal out on the left, but France choose to play the ball back to Abidal deep inside his own half rather than taking a chance to put the ball into the box.
Great run from Nasri, weaving by several challenges before being dispossessed just when he had a sight of goal. That's the first really big contribution from the Arsenal man.
France are probing, but Belarus are defending well in numbers.
RIBERY! Nice exchange between Ribery and Benzema on the edge of the box. The Bayern Munich man tries his luck with a first-time shot, but the fall zips past the right hand post of Veremko.
Another French corner, but this one is delivered more dangerously! Diarra gets his head to the ball six yards out but steers his effort just wide!
BENZEMA! Remarkable miss! A lovely cross in from the right picks out Benzema at the far post, but the Real Madrid man somehow slices his effort out for almost a throw in!
A long diagonal pass from Nasri to Arsenal team-mate Sagna causes some panic for the hosts, and the upshot is a corner that's cleared.
Yellow Card Timofey Kalachev
Now the first Belarusian yellow card. Kalachev lunges in on Diarra with his studs up and is cautioned.
After the corner is initially headed clear, the ball falls to Benzema, who shoots over after taking a touch.
Corner France. Benzema does very well down the left to hold up the ball, flicking it to Ribery, who in turn delivers to Malouda. A sliding tackle takes the ball away from the scorer.
Ribery's been a peripheral figure so far, and he loses out when a long free kick is directed into his path. Martynovich has again policed him well.
Abou Diaby is really struggling in the midfield. His touch his inevitably too heavy and his passing has been slack too.
Yellow card Sagna, and this one looks a little harsh. In a wrestling match with Bordachev down the left, he caught the home player seemingly accidentally. A free kick would have sufficed.
Yellow Card Bacary Sagna
Shitov again tries his luck from range. This one is an easy hold for Lloris, diving to his right.
Oh... another good foray from the French, but Benzema's pass inside to Malouda is intercepted!
Goal Florent Malouda
GOAL!!! WHAT A REPLY!!! France have drawn level with their first meaningful attack of the game. A run down the right ends with a cross being laid back to Malouda by Benzema. The Chelsea man bends in a fine shot, though his run was not tracked at all.
Own Goal Éric Abidal
GOAL!!! IT'S 1-0 BELARUS! The ball in is excellent, catching Lloris out. From three yards out, the ball cannons into the net off Eric Abidal! An ugly goal that sums up a dreadful start to the game from les Bleus.
Yellow Card Adil Rami
Rami gets the first yellow card of the game, and deservedly so! The big centre-back lunges in on Tigorev and misses the ball totally. Free kick Belarus on the right flank, level with the box.
Not much quality on show from either side at the moment. France are being outworked in the centre of the park by their hosts.
The corner goes short and ultimately Trubilo has an effort at goal. It seems to take a deflection as it passes over, but the referee awards the goal kick.
SHITOV! The first meaningful shot of the game! The No. 22 cuts inside off the right wing and fires a shot at goal from 25 yards. Lloris touches over with little fuss.
Already a Mexican wave is making its way round the stands, underlining the lack of action on the field.
France are trying to take the sting out of the game, but their passing the ball about the back is getting them nowhere. Eventually Ribery injects some life into the game only to be fouled around halfway.
At the moment it's the hosts who look the more determined side. Voronkov heads a cross goalward from 18 yards out, but there's no menace to his effort at all.
Belarus work their way forward with a couple of free kicks, but when they take a quick one around the box, the French defence is alert to clear.
Martynovich is quickly across to cover a menacing ball designed for Ribery to run onto down the left channel. It looks like these two are set for quite a battle.
Nice pace to start this game. Belarus certainly aren't sitting back and are looking to get at France with pace.
Voronkov nearly gets clear of the French defence, but Sakho gets his toe to the ball to thwart the forward. Rami then mops up the danger.
The French show their attacking potential for the first time. A strong Ribery run down the left is arrested by a sliding tackle from Martynovich. Moments later, Malouda has a cut-back cleared by Tigorev.
A positive start from the hosts, but their energetic beginning to the game yields only a goal kick to the visitors.
And we're under way. France are playing in their new striped away strips, and the hosts are in red.
France Starting XI: Lloris; Sagna, Sakho, Rami, Abidal; Diarra, Diaby; Ribery, Nasri, Malouda; Benzema Subs: Mandanda, Evra, Kaboul, Cabaye, M’Villa, Gameiro, Remy
Belarus starting XI: Veremko; Martynovich, Kalachev, Trubilo, Tigorev; Omelyanchuk, Putilo, Bordachev, Verkhovstov; Shitov, Voronkov Subs: Zhevnov, Sitko, Hleb, Bychenok, Zhavnerchik, Kislyak
Five minutes before kick-off, here are the teams...
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of Belarus against France!
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