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Sunday, 19 May, 2002, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
France brush off defeat
France coach Roger Lemerre
Roger Lemerre said France were "laborious"
France coach Roger Lemerre said he was still confident of World Cup success despite a 2-1 defeat by Belgium at the Stade de France on Saturday.

Marc Wilmots struck an injury-time winner to inflict France's first home defeat for three years.

"It doesn't have any immediate consequences because it was only a friendly," Lemerre said.

Open Quote
Defeat will perhaps bring us back down to earth
Close Quote
Patrick Vieira
"We were a little laborious but our Belgian friends were very motivated and well organised.

"We were probably lacking a bit of bite mentally but physically everything will fall into place."

France were without star player Zinedine Zidane, who was at the birth of his third child, and first-choice striker Thierry Henry, who had a knee strain.

They went behind in the 20th minute to a goal from Glen de Boeck and equalised through Frank Leboeuf five minutes before half-time, but Wilmots scored the decisive goal after two minutes of injury time.

Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira, who set a new French record of 36 consecutive international appearances in the match, said that defeat could even have a positive effect on France.

"The defeat tonight will perhaps bring us back down to earth," he said.

"We're really disappointed for the fans, who were fantastic. It's never very nice to lose in France but there are lots of lessons to be learned.

Belgium celebrate after their win over France
Belgium "re-discovered the route to goal"
"We needed a little more desire and aggression and more depth to our game.

"We missed Zidane but Youri Djorkaeff and Johan Micoud played well."

France kick off their World Cup defence against Senegal and Vieira said: "Don't worry, we'll be ready for 31 May.

"We're confident, we know what we're capable of."

Belgian coach Robert Waseige was delighted with his side's victory.

"I can't hide my satisfaction after a positive result away from home," he said.

"The most important thing is that we've re-discovered the route to goal."

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GROUP A
  P GD PTS
DENMARK 3 +3 7
SENEGAL 3 +1 5
URUGUAY 3 -1 2
FRANCE 3 -3 1

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