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banner Wednesday, 25 April, 2001, 22:25 GMT 23:25 UK
French hit top form
Emmanuel Petit slides in on Luis Figo
Portugal's Figo finds his way barred by Petit and Desailly
Portugal's hopes of avenging their Euro 2000 exit at the hands of France were crushed by a 4-0 thrashing at the Stade de France.

The injury-hit visitors were a shadow of the side that stretched the world champions to extra time in the Euro 2000 semi-final before Zinedine Zidane's golden goal.

Portugal conceded three goals in a 15-minute period before the break to give France an unassailable lead - and returning World Cup hero Youri Djorkaeff piled on the agony with a second half strike.

France owed its friendly victory to its crop of English-based stars.

Arsenal midfield man Robert Pires set up goals for Highbury team-mates Sylvain Wiltord and Thierry Henry.

And another Arsenal player, Patrick Vieira, fed Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre a scoring pass.


Portugal applied early pressure when Real Madrid midfielder Luis Figo rifled an angled shot from right in the 10th minute, but Fabien Barthez saved with ease.

In the 18th minute Pires fed the ball to Wiltord, who was unmarked in the Portuguese area with the defence distracted by Zidane.

He had plenty of time to steer his shot past goalkeeper Quim.

Pires then charged down the left once again, but his pass to Henry was intercepted by defender Rui Bento.

Fernando Couto and David Trezeguet
Portugal's Couto is challengedf by Trezeguet
Silvestre sent a header wide in the 32nd minute, but seconds later latched on to a pass from Vieira and powered the ball home from inside the visitors' box.

Once again the visitors' defence was nowhere to be seen when Pires fed Henry another pass from left and this time the Arsenal striker fired the ball into the net.

Figo charged into the French area minutes before the break, but was beaten to the ball by Barthez before he had time to shoot.

After the break, Fulham's Luis Boa Morte went close for the visitors, turning neatly in the French area and shooting just wide.

Djorkaeff, returning after a six-match absence due to injury, sent his first shot high over the crossbar.

But he was on target in the 78th minute, surging from the right and slotting home a pass from Emmanuel Petit.

France's victory compensated for last month's 2-1 defeat against Spain in a friendly in Valencia.

That was the French team's first loss since winning the European Cup last summer.

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