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Sunday, 3 June, 2001, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Classy France thrash Mexico
Sylvain Wiltord
Wiltord set France on their way to victory
France 4-0 Mexico

France produced the perfect response to their shock defeat at the hands of Australia on Friday as they brushed aside Mexico in the Confederations Cup.

Coach Roger Lemerre recalled his experienced stars, including Marcel Desailly and Patrick Vieira, who had been rested for the previous match.

And the difference in the quality of the French football was comprehensive.

Sylvain Wiltord took full advantage of his late inclusion to the French team, following the withdrawal of Christophe Dugarry, to set France on their way.

  Key moments
8 mins: Wiltord puts France ahead with a cracking volley
46 mins: De Nigris fails to convert after good work by Victor Ruiz
54 mins: Wiltord volleys wide from another Sagnol cross
63 mins: Carriere doubles France's lead
69 mins: Wiltord misses a gilt-edged chance
72 mins: Robert Pires lobs Sanchez for France's third goal
84 mins: Carriere compounds Mexico's misery with a fourth French goal

With just eight minutes gone Wiltord crashed a sweetly-struck volley into the top right hand corner of the goal to set France on their way to victory.

In the second-half Eric Carriere scored his first and second international goals, and Robert Pires was also on target.

Mexico were bamboozled in an opening 20 minutes spell in which France demonstrated why they have taken over from Brazil as the world's best team.

A combination of French pace, power and precision passing kept Mexico on the defensive.

Nicolas Anelka took just three minutes to test Mexico goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez with a cross-shot.

And four minutes later Silvestre's header from Robert Pires' corner produced an excellent save from Sanchez, diving low to his right.

Pressure

And when Wiltord supplied a sublime finish to Willy Sagnol's cross, a thumping victory looked inevitable.

But as so often happens once the team dominating proceedings takes the lead, France eased the pressure on their opponents.

It allowed the Mexicans to regain some composure after their torrid start to the match.

Robert Pires
Pires scored with a deft lob
But although they began to stroke the ball around nicely, they did not threaten to score an equaliser until the dying moments of the first-half.

And when their chance did come, Bixente Lizarazu produced a phenomenal blocking tackle to keep France ahead.

The rebound fell to De Nigris, but he headed weakly into Landreau's hands.

Mexico introduced Borguetti after the interval and the change almost bore fruit instantly.

He slid in to meet Abundis' ball across the penalty area but could not get his effort on target.

Free-scoring

But France settled into an imperious rhythm, with Lizarazu rampaging on the left.

When Carriere lofted the ball over the advancing Sanchez to double their lead, France's progress in the tournament was ensured.

And this time there was no let-up for Mexico as France carved open their defence at will.

Anelka missed a brace of opportunities to add his name to the score-sheet and Wiltord was guilty of a glaring miss to double his contribution.

  Final Group A standings
1 France P 3 Pts 6 GD +8
2 Australia P 3 Pts 6 +2
3 S Korea P 3 Pts 6 -3
4 Mexico P 3 Pts 0 -7

Pires then raced through the defence and struck a left-footed lob volley over Sanchez to underline their superiority.

And after substitute Djorkaeff's shot was blocked, Carriere walked the ball into an empty net to add a fourth.

In between Mexico almost grabbed a consolation, but Victor Ruiz's drive flew inches wide of the upright.

A superb performance from the French - and still without the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Fabien Barthez, David Trezeguet, and Emmanuel Petit.


France: Landreau, Sagnol, Lizarazu, Silvestre, Desailly, Vieira, Carriere, Anelka, Marlet, Pires, Wiltord. Subs: Rame, Gillet, Djorkaeff, Dugarry, Coupet, Nee, Brechet, Dacourt, Karembeu, Camara, Robert.

Mexico: Oswaldo Sanchez, Suarez, Davino, Valdez, Pardo, Marco Antonio Ruiz, David Rangel, Victor Ruiz, Victoria, De Nigris, Abundis. Subs: Beltran, Oteo, Rodriguez, Borguetti, Osorno, Cabuto, Villa, Coyote, Reyes, Perez, Hugo Chavez, Dautt.

Referee: A Bujsaim (United Arab Emirates)

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01 Jun 01 |  Football
Australia stun France
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