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International friendly: France 2 Serbia 0

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 Jun 2012

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Goals from Franck Ribery and Florent Malouda saw France ease to a 2-0 win in an international friendly with Serbia on Thursday.

Laurent Blanc made seven changes from the side that limped past Iceland on Sunday, and his wholesale changes were justified by a vibrant first-half performance at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims.

Ribery took just 11 minutes to open the scoring, before Malouda added a second just minutes later.

They went close to scoring a third on a number of occasions throughout the rest of the game, but were thwarted by a combination of some wasteful finishing from their strikers and some impressive goalkeeping from Serbia goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic.

Despite the easy win, Blanc will be worried by the departure of Yann M’Vila early on in the game with what looked like an ankle injury following a clash with Dusan Tadic in the very first minute.

France provided the perfect antidote to M’Vila’s injury by taking the lead through Ribery, who latched met a Gael Clichy a cross with a well-hit half-volley from 15 yards.

The lead was extended just four minutes later courtesy of a fierce Malouda strike for 25 yards out that Brkic got a hand to but failed to keep out.

Sinisa Mihaljovic’s side looked stunned after conceding twice in quick succession, and France showed no signs of letting up as the first half wore on.

Karim Benzema came close to converting a chance in the 30th minute after a neat exchange of passes with Ribery, before Clichy tried his luck with a long-range effort that Brkic watched sail over his bar.

Branislav Ivanovic would have reduced the two-goal deficit early in the second half but for a fine fingertip save from Hugo Lloris. The largely untroubled French goalkeeper was forced into making a brilliant stop to keep the Chelsea defender’s free kick from rippling the net.

A host of French substitutions scuppered the flow of the game and there were few further chances of note as Les Bleus saw out the win.

The result saw France extend their unbeaten streak to 20 matches.

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