16 August 2012 00:55
Didier Deschamps’ first match in charge of France ended in a tame 0-0 friendly draw against Uruguay in Le Havre.
Each of the three previous meetings between the sides had finished goalless, so there was little hope for an exciting encounter heading into this clash, with the first-half living up to those expectations at Stade Oceane.
The game sparked into life after the interval, but neither side was able to find a winning goal, with France striker Karim Benzema going closest as he hit the post.
The opening period was less than eventful, with France dominating play but struggling to find a path through a packed visiting defence. Indeed, they fashioned only one opening of note, but Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s header proved little more than an awkward block for Fernando Muslera.
There would be significantly more excitement after the break, though the South Americans were largely content to play on the counter-attack.
Mathieu Valbuena was lively for the hosts and four minutes after the restart he was set up by substitute Etienne Capoue’s accurate pass, though his finish was too close to Muslera to seriously trouble the goalkeeper.
On the hour mark, Les Bleus went even closer. A lofted ball forward picked out Benzema at the edge of the box, but the Real Madrid man saw a wonderfully executed, side-foot volley come back off the post.
If there was not a flurry of chances for the home side, there was certainly a steadier stream of opportunities, with Ribery’s deft chip exciting the crowd before dropping just too high.
Shortly afterwards, Bafetimbi Gomis sent a shot from range skidding towards goal, only for Muslera to deny the substitute.
While Uruguay’s approach was rather negative, the fourth-placed side on the FIFA rankings were not entirely subdued as an attacking force. At times Cristian Rodriguez drove forwards from the midfield with real purpose, and did deliver a wonderful cross that Sebastian Abreu contrived to send straight into the hands of French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, when he should have scored.
A goalless draw looked likely for large periods of the contest, but France did push for a winner until the final whistle. Jimmy Briand had a good chance from a Valbuena cross and Gomis should have done better in stoppage time when well placed, but their misses ensured Deschamps’ national managerial debut ended in a stalemate.