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February 29, 2012
• Weserstadion, Bremen
Referee: P. Tagliavento
• Attendance: 37800
O. Giroud 21'
F. Malouda 69'
That's all from here - I hope you enjoyed tonight's coverage. Until next time, all the best.
It was close at the end, but France fully deserved their win. Les Bleus were the better team on the night, and Germany appeared almost apathetic in the latter stages of the game. Debuchy and Giroud in particular were superb for the visitors, who proved they have a quality squad available ahead of Euro 2012, even when Benzema was sidelined.
90' + 1'
Assist Thomas Müller
90' + 1'
GOAL! CACAU PULLS ONE BACK! 2-1 now! Muller sends the ball wide before receiving a return pass in space. He drives forward and crosses low to the back post, where Cacau slots home. France have to be careful now, or they just might come up without a win...
Four minutes to be added. Whistles from the home fans, who clearly are not satisfied just yet...
Yellow Card Lars Bender
Cacau's cross is cleared, and France counter. Menez dribbles towards the edge of the box and slows his run, allowing Bender to clip him from behind. Free kick for the visitors, and a yellow card for the German.
Cacau goes down under a challenge from Abidal, but no free kick is awarded, much to the Stuttgart man's annoyance.
Yellow Card Philippe Mexes
Mexes now earns a booking after tugging Bender's shirt. The Leverkusen man ran for several yards before going down!
GOMEZ IS IN AND...offside! Muller did well to dribble to the edge of the box, but his Bayern team-mate was past the last defender when the ball was released.
SAHA SCORES! But called back! A good finish from the Tottenham man, but he was clearly offside when Nasri released the ball. shame for France, who had a great chance on the counter-attack.
Much better from Germany, but again no finish. Cacau slips and unwittingly cuts off a window for Muller to shoot. Moments later, Kroos nods a cross powerfully towards goal, but just wide.
Malouda makes a fine run up the left and towards the end-line, but has nobody to pass to, and his cut-back is intercepted.
Another substitution for France: Louis Saha comes on for Giroud, a straight swap.
Now Kroos fouls Nasri, forcing some treatment for the Frenchman, who appears to have turned his ankle.
Menez wins a free kick in his own half following a foul from Kroos
A pair of substitutions for Germany: Lars Bender and Cacau come on for Khedira and Reus.
Assist Olivier Giroud
Goal Florent Malouda
2-0 TO FRANCE! MALOUDA SCORES! Debuchy again finds space to run into on the flank, and delivers a low cross that is stopped by a pile of sliding bodies near the goal. Malouda is first to the ball, and fires into the top-right corner!
Substitution now as Morgan Amalfitano makes his first appearance for France, replacing Valbuena
The German defence is all over the place now as France work out another chance! Menez over-hits his pass to Valbuena, though, and the ball runs out of play.
Yellow Card Jerome Boateng
Cynical challenge from Boateng as he upends Menez, who might have been on his way towards goal.
VALBUENA! It should be 2-0 for sure! Howedes loses possession on the wing as Giroud nips the ball away, and passes through to the Marseille man, who strikes wide with just Wiese to beat!
Substitutions now for France: Alou Diarra and Florent Malouda replace Cabaye and M'Vila
Nice run from Nasri, who appears to have space to slip in to Giroud but waits and is upended by Hummels. Free kick...
Giroud has a go from distance, but his low strike is saved by Wiese.
Lloris nearly concedes a soft goal - the goalkeeper pounces on Reus' low strike, then loses the ball, which trickles towards goal before he recovers and claims possession once more.
Oh, Gomez nearly in with a chance! M'Vila loses possession deep in his own half, then stops the striker with an excellent challenge. Germany continue to attack, but Muller's cross cannot be redirected on target.
More nice pressure from France as the corner is played on the ground to the unmarked Mexes, whose shot is blocked
Ooh, Nasri! A strong shot from the former Arsenal man takes a deflection off Boateng and results in a corner.
It should be noted that France are unbeaten in nearly 18 months under Blanc's tenure. And as of now, it appears that run will continue.
Valbuena plays an uncharacteristically loose pass to Valbuena, then wins the ball back with a crunching challenge. The Marseille man appears to hurt his ankle in the process, but recovers soon and is up and running
Gomez does well to tee up Kroos for a volley, but the midfielder's shot is blocked. Rami and Mexes have formed a considerable partnership in the centre for the visitors.
Nasri finds himself near the left corner flag, but turns and wins a free kick from Howedes. Clever work from the playmaker.
AND THE SECOND HALF BEGINS!
For France, Blanc has made just one change, with Jeremy Menez replacing Ribery.
Several changes have been made at half-time: for Germany, Benedikt Howedes replaces Holger Badstuber, and Mario Gomez comes on for Klose, wearing the captain's armband. It also has been confirmed that Schurrle has sustained broken nose
Neither France nor Germany appear to be firing on all cylinders - if either had, there surely would have been more goals. The second half should see some substitutions - will they change the outcome? I'll be back in 15 minutes to keep you up-to-date...
It has been an entertaining 45 minutes in Bremen, with both sides creating their fair share of chances, and France clinically taking theirs through Giroud.
45' + 3'
Another chance for Germany, but again no finish! This time Khedira receives the ball from a corner just outside the six-yard box. He plays the ball into the centre, but it is cleared easily.
45' + 1'
OZIL! Excellent turn from the Rea Madrid man to free himself from Cabaye, but his shot from distance bounces narrowly wide of the right post.
Muller now replaces Schurrle, who evidently is unable to continue. A minimum of minutes of injury time will be added...
KLOSE! Another fine save from Lloris! Ozil makes a surging run up the right flank and France are caught out as they had just taken a corner. Ozil plays a 1-2 and receives a brilliant return pass from Khedira before crossing to Klose. The Lazio man had over-run the play slightly, and his weak volley was just tipped by Lloris!
Ah, nearly a chance for France! Nasri finds his way between the lines and slips through to Giroud who was onside, but checked his run early.
Oh dear, Schurrle goes down in considerable pain after taking an elbow from Debuchy. Nothing intentional from the full-back, but that does not take away the sting. The Leverkusen man appears to have avoided any serious damage, though, and looks likely to come back.
Things have cooled down over the last minute or so. As it stands, France appear to have regained their composure and are keeping possession much better now.
Klose AGAIN! Seconds after the resulting corner, Kroos plays a deep cross to the veteran, who heads from a tight angle but nonetheless forces another outstanding save from the goalkeeper. France want half-time now!
KLOSE! Oh, great save by Lloris! From a free-kick, the unmarked Klose is able to trap the ball and fire, but the Lyon No. 1 does very well to make the stop.
Reus slips the ball in for Klose, who is wide and has his shot blocked by Mexes for a corner.
Oh, so nearly the equaliser! Reus receives a through-pass and is clear of Abidal, but the Barcelona man runs him down before he can make a more considered attempt on goal. Schurrle almost has a second bite at the cherry, but misses out as France clear.
Khedira plays a 1-2 with Reus and storms forward, but is forced to play a harmless cross in the end. France counter, and Nasri has a shot from distance deflected out for a corner.
Nasri's corner is punched clear by Wiese, but Germany surrender possession. At this rate, Tim Wiese is not going to even come close to winning his first game for Germany. France are in full control.
The Weserstadion has gone silent following Giroud's goal, as Germany have done very little in reply.
Assist Mathieu Debuchy
Goal Olivier Giroud
GOAL! GIROUD SCORES FOR FRANCE! Debuchy receives the ball on the right and Aogo completely misjudges the right-back's run. Debuchy cuts inside and is well past his marker, slipping through to Giroud who tucks into the lower-right corner.
Nasri plays a through-pass to Giroud, but Germany's high offside trap plays him offside.
Kroos plays the ball wide to Reus, who takes his time in controlling the ball before shooting. Abidal has time to recover and deflects wide for a corner.
CABAYE! The holding midfielder nods a corner very well towards the lower-right corner, but Wiese dives to make a stop. Best chance of the game thus far...
But the ball is cleared. Nice bit of pressure here from France...
Here's a good opportunity for the visitors as they earn a free kick following a hand-ball from Badstuber...
Giroud races towards a ball over the top, but is shielded off, and Wiese appears to clear the ball off Hummels and out for a corner.
Ozil again is involved in a nice passing sequence, this time with Khedira, but the final through-pass is struck a little too heavily and goes out of play ahead of Schurrle
Still not a great deal happening in terms of goalmouth action, but the game is still fluent. A neat interchange at the edge of France's box nearly picks a way through the defence, but the final ball is just too hard.
France starting to get hold of the ball in the midfield, but the Germany unit looks very energetic and is pressing them quickly in key areas. Les Bleus win a corner, but Rami heads well wide.
Germany making the early running here, passing the ball about more fluently than their guests. A long ball forward from the hosts is misjudged by Rami, but Mexes mops up his team-mate's error.
And now it's clever play from the Germans as Klose finds Ozi at the edge of the box, and the Real Madrid man slips a delightful ball in to Reus. Mexes is quick to react to the danger and clears for a corner
AND WE'RE UNDERWAY! Neat linking between Nasri and Ribery in the opening moments leads to a through-pass from the Man City attacker, but Wiese is quick off his line to claim ahead of Giroud
Finally the formalities are finished and France are ready to kick-off...
Tonight could also be huge for France's Morgan Amalfitano, who as of yet is uncapped but could make his debut coming off the bench tonight.
Tonight's match is a huge opportunity for Marco Reus, who has been arguably player of the year in the Bundesliga, but has yet to assert himself at international level
The French National Anthem is playing now; the German equivalent to follow shortly....
Kick-off has been delayed briefly as Mesut Ozil is honoured as Germany's National Team Player of the Year
The players are on the pitch in Bremen and we're almost ready to get underway...
France (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Debuchy, Rami, Mexes, Abidal; M'Vila, Cabaye; Valbuena, Nasri, Ribery; Giroud
France trainer Laurent Blanc has opted to use a similar 4-2-3-1 formation, with Samir Nasri in the playmaking position behind lone striker Olivier Giroud, who replaces the injured Karim Benzema
Germany (4-2-3-1): Wiese; Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Aogo; Khedira, Kroos; Reus, Ozil, Schurrle; Klose
Starting line-ups are in, and for Germany, coach Joachim Low has chosen just five of his usual starters, opting for an experimental line-up in the absence of Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski
Both sides qualified for this summer's European Championship, and with fewer than 100 days remaining before events kick-off in Poland, are facing off in a match that will prove to be a real litmus test of their form.
Hello, and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Germany vs France! I'm Clark Whitney, and I'll be keeping you company over the next two hours or so...
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