Les Bleus find no way through
France could not force a goal against Paraguay
France 0-0 Paraguay
France did not have things all their own way as a strong Paraguay team frustrated a side closely resembling Raymond Domenech's likely first XI for UEFA EURO 2008™.
Denied by the woodwork
A Les Bleus lineup missing only the rested Willy Sagnol, Lilian Thuram and William Gallas, plus injured Patrick Vieira, struck the post through Karim Benzema after 18 minutes. That was the closest they came to scoring in Toulouse, however, against opposition who lead the South American FIFA World Cup qualifying section.
Olympique Lyonnais forward Benzema rattled the upright after being played in by Franck Ribéry, and the FC Bayern München schemer threatened himself when shooting narrowly wide moments before half-time. The latter half of that dangerous duo failed to reappear after the interval, as Domenech spared the legs of Ribéry along with those of Thierry Henry and Claude Makelele. Henry had captained the team in Vieira's absence on the occasion of his 99th cap. The regular skipper, nursing a thigh injury sustained in training on Friday, is a doubt for France's Group C opener against Romania on 9 June.
If Paraguay had been limited to forcing an early first-half save from Grégory Coupet through Aureliano Torres, they carried much greater menace when Lassana Diarra had to head off his own goalline with 19 minutes left. At the other end, Sidney Govou's effort rebounded off the far post after 83 minutes, before fellow substitute Samir Nasri demanded a late stop from keeper Justo Villar. Domenech's men are next in action against another South American side, Colombia, in Paris on 3 June.
France: Coupet, Clerc, Squillaci, Boumsong, Evra, Makelele (L Diarra 46), Toulalan, Ribéry (Govou 46), Malouda, Benzema (Anelka 63), Henry (Gomis 46).
Paraguay: Villar, Benítez, Caniza, Da Silva, Torres, Verón, Aquino (Estigarribia 43), Barreto (Paredes 90), Cáceres (Santana 83), Santa Cruz (Cardozo 57), Váldez (López 69).