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France suffer catastrophic World Cup start

SoccerNews in Ligue 1, World Cup 6 Sep 2008

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France were outplayed 3-1 by little Austria, just 101st in the world, for a catastrophic start to their 2010 World Cup campaign to throw up further questions marks over coach Raymond Domenech.

The 2006 World Cup finalists had a terrible Euro 2008, losing in the group phase, and this Group Seven result will further weaken the position of Domenech.

Goals by Marc Janko and Rene Aufhauser before the break put the hosts firmly in front but Sidney Govou got one back for France on the hour.

A converted penalty by Andreas Ivanschitz in the 72nd minute finished off the scoring and France's fate.

The French football federation will surely be keenly expecting a better result against Serbia on Wednesday at the Stade de France and against Romania on October 11.

The first two goals by the Austrians were similar.

The first came when a freekick by Ivanschitz was badly negotiated by French centre backs William Gallas and Philippe Mexes and Janko found the net.

Then in the 41st minute, another freekick by Ivanschitz was put in the net by Aufhauser with Gallas getting a touch.

And a Mexes foul on Janko gave away the penalty to confirm the victory of Karel Bruckner's men and it was clear on the night France missed the likes of retired defender Lilian Thuram.

Earlier in the 61st minute Govou, making the most of the absence of Franck Ribery, had scored for France but it was not enough to prevent defeat.

Austria had ridden their luck a little however as just in the 15th minute, Sebastian Proedl managed to scare keeper Alex Manninger by hitting the ball on to his own crossbar, and Jeremy Toulalan had a great chance in the 66th minute.

France's shaky defence is proving a problem; in the last four matches, they have conceded 11 goals.

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