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The BBC's Roddy Forsyth
"They seemed a little surprised by Scotland's brisk start"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 29 March, 2000, 21:06 GMT 22:06 UK
France spoil Scottish party

Cameron missed Scotland's best chance
Scotland 0-2 France

World champions France secured their first win on Scottish soil as they strolled to a 2-0 victory at the newlook Hampden Park stadium.

Substitute Sylvain Wiltord had only been on the pitch for eight minutes when he scored his third goal for his country shortly after the interval.

Match facts
2 mins: Gallacher's goal is disallowed for handball
11 mins: Colin Cameron misses Scotland's best chance
54 mins: Sylvain Wiltord scores for France
90 mins: Thierry Henry makes it two
France, who have suffered only four defeats on 69 international games, only broke out of a gentle trot in the second half.

Arsenal striker Thierry Henry, marking his return from 18 months in international exile, waited until the stroke of full-time to add the second goal.

Scotland manager Craig Brown had been forced to contend with the withdrawal of six players in the build-up to this sell-out exhibition match.

For all his re-shuffled squad's bustling efforts, they failed to trouble arguably the best back-four in world football save for a brief opening flurry.

On the only occasion centre-back Marcel Desailly slipped up, midfielder Colin Cameron thumped his easy chance wide.

Dugarry had the measure of the Scots defence
Urged on by a passionate home crowd, the Scots lit up Hampden Park in an exciting opening fifteen minutes.

They had the ball in the net as early as the second minute when Kevin Gallagher latched onto Billy Dodds' quick-witted back-flick.

But referee Rune Pedersen spotted a handball.

Colin Cameron then had a golden chance to prove Scottish football is not the dumping ground for burnt out has-beens that some French agents had been claiming in the build-up to this friendly.

But, after determinedly holding off Desailly and watching the ball bounce invitingly under his nose, he sliced his right-foot shot wide.

Scotland did not manufacture a better chance and spent the rest of the match firmly on the back foot despite the French players' often casual attitude.

They took their chances very clinically. We had similar chances but did not manage to find the net. But please don't forget these were the World Cup winners while we had a patched up team

Scotland coach Craig Brown
The World Cup winners half-hearted tempo was only quickened when coach France coach Roger Lemerre made two second-half changes.

Bordeaux team-mates Wiltord and Johan Micoud came on for Youri Djorkaeff and the excellent new cap, Ludovic Giuly.

Scotland also opted to make interval changes. Cameron paid for his miss as he made way for midfielder Neil McCann and Brown decided to give Hearts youngster Stephen Pressley his first cap, in place of Paul Ritchie.

It was Wiltord who made an instant impact.

Within four minutes he blasted over the bar from a clever Henry chest-down and seconds later forced Sullivan into only his second save of the match with a well-struck drive.

Wiltord was presented with his third chance a minute later when Scotland were exposed by a lightning five-man move through the French midfield.

Gallacher: Had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out
Pressley was pulled out of position which allowed Wiltord all the time in the world to pick his spot and he slotted the ball cleanly under Sullivan's body.

Paul Telfer, who made an early slip in the first-half which nearly let in Christophe Dugarry, saw a well-hit shot blocked by Desailly.

That was his last contribution to the game as Brown cut short his debut and replaced him with Allan Johnston.

But by now France were simply toying with the Scots, Vieira and Henry blasting wide and Callum Davidson forced into a desperate goal-line save.

Bixente Lizarazu made a timely far-post block to deny Kevin Gallacher as he wrapped his foot round a McCann cross.

But for all Scotland's endeavour and France's indifference, the world champions never looked like surrendering their 11th clean sheet in their last 14 games.

On the stroke of the final whistle Henry was rewarded for a hard-working return to the French forward line, calmly curling his right-foot into the net.


Scotland: Neil Sullivan; Paul Ritchie, Christian Dailly, Colin Hendry, Paul Telfer, Barry Ferguson, Don Hutchinson, Colin Cameron, Callum Davidson, Kevin Gallacher, Billy Dodds
Subs: Anderson, Gould, Pressley, Naysmith, Johnston, Burchill, N. McCann.

France: Ulrich Rame; Lilian Thuram, Marcel Desailly, Laurent Blanc, Bixente Lizarazu; Ludovic Giuly, Didier Deschamps, Emmanuel Petit, Youri Djorkaeff; Christophe Dugarry, Thierry Henry.
Subs: Vieira, Pires, Wiltord, Leboeuf, Micoud, Letizi, Djetou.

Referee: Rune Pedersen (Norway)

Attendance: 48,187

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