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Last Updated: Friday, 20 June, 2003, 21:33 GMT 22:33 UK
Govou sends France through
Sidney Govou
France's Sidney Govou fires the winner against Japan
France 2-1 Japan

France moved into the Confederations Cup semi-finals thanks to a second-half strike from Sidney Govou in St Etienne.

The defending champions went ahead through a Robert Pires penalty on 43 minutes after Junichi Inamoto pulled down Jean-Alain Boumsong.

But Japan fought back and equalised through a free-kick from Shunsuke Nakamurav - his third goal of the competition.

And there was more drama after Govou's winning goal, when Bayern Munich full-back Willy Sagnol was sent off for a foul on Hidetoshi Nakata.

Japan, coached by Brazil legend Zico, can still make it into the last four if they beat Colombia on Sunday.

Fulham's Steve Marlet was the first man to go close to breaking the deadlock with a header.

Japan had had more of the possession and were marginally the better side until Inamoto clashed with Boumsong.

French skipper Pires coolly converted the penalty past Seigo Narazaki.

Nakamura's equaliser was well deserved, his free-kick soaring past Fabien Barthez into the top right-hand corner.

But France were quickly back in front as Govou deftly controlled a long ball in the box and sent a left-footed shot past Narazaki.

Nakata had a good chance to level shortly after but his volley flew over the bar.


France: Fabien Barthez; Willy Sagnol; William Gallas; Jean-Alain Boumsong; Mikael Silvestre; Ludovic Giuly; Ousmane Dabo; Robert Pires; Olivier Dacourt; Sidney Govou; Steve Marlet.

Japan: Seigo Narazaki; Nobuhisa Yamada; Keisuke Tsuboi; Tsuneyasu Miyamoto; Alessandro Santos; Hidetoshi Nakata; Junichi Inamoto; Yasuhito Endo; Shunsuke Nakamura; Naohiro Takahara; Yoshito Okubo.




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