Football: Scotland thwarted by France's final act

France 2 Scotland 1

Scotland matched the World Cup hosts in a hard-fought friendly here last night, only to succumb to a penalty with 13 minutes remaining by Youri Djorkaeff, one of eight late substitutes.

France have now lost only once at home in 20 matches dating back nearly three years - to England last summer - but Craig Brown's team had the better chances before Pierre Laigle tumbled under Craig Burley's challenge. Aime Jacquet's team were booed off at the end.

The Geoffroy-Guichard Stadium is one of the 10 venues hosting next summer's extravaganza but the atmosphere for what the programme billed as "preparation a la Coupe du Monde" was far removed from that which will grip the planet. The night was cold and wet, while the new stand rising on one side housed only stewards and ball-boys.

If the sight of Tom Boyd leading out the Scots, instead of Gary McAllister - in honour of his 50th cap - added to the sense of unreality, the sound of drums pounding behind Neil Sullivan's goal in the first half created a certain samba ambience. The teams were slow to catch the mood, with France's most creative player, Zinedine Zidane, often stifled by the man- marking of Billy McKinlay.

Sullivan, nevertheless, was called into action as early as the eighth minute, turning Stephane Guivarc'h's effort behind the post after Lilian Laslandes had climbed to head Laigle's cross into his path. But it was a safety-first measure, for the ball appeared to be passing wide.

A goal for either side in the space of 60 seconds 10 minutes before half time brought an end to the phoney war. Sullivan was at fault for France's opener, failing to catch or punch Marcel Desailly's centre. The ball carried to Laigle, whose diagonal volley was his first international goal.

Scotland's response was as intricate as it was instantaneous. Burley, wide on the right, worked the ball inside to McAllister. He, in turn, found Kevin Gallacher, who cut it back to the penalty spot. Gordon Durie drove high into Fabien Barthez's net.

Sullivan promptly made partial amends by parrying stinging shots from Guivarc'h and Zidane, whose cunning enabled him to slip McKinlay more than once.

The Juventus player was, however, a solitary beacon of invention in a French side which had attracted some restless whistling before scoring.

The malcontents were heard again when Zidane and his captain, Didier Deschamps, wasted free-kicks in quick succession. Scotland, making more of less possession, attacked with greater incisiveness and might have gone ahead after 51 minutes. Gallacher and McAllister were involved once more, the latter crossing from the left for Durie to fire narrowly over.

Despite having relinquished the armband, McAllister set his usual inspirational example. Colin Calderwood followed it with a textbook sliding tackle to unload Laslandes, the French League's leading scorer, as he shaped to pull the trigger. Moments later, Deschamps's goalbound volley cannoned behind off a defender, yet Scotland seldom came under concerted pressure.

Midway through the second half, they were making the better opportunities themselves. David Weir's raking pass out of defence pitted Durie against Desailly in a race through the middle, the Frenchman doing just enough to force his opponent into shooting straight at Barthez.

Durie, released by Gallacher, then chipped a yard wide with only the goalkeeper to beat, before McAllister's attempted lob also sailed beyond the far post. Then came the penalty - but Scotland could reflect with some satisfaction on their efforts against a team widely held to have a chance of winning the World Cup itself.

FRANCE (3-5-2): Barthez (Monaco); Thuram (Parma), Blanc (Marseille), Desailly (Milan); Ba (Milan), Zidane, Deschamps (both Juventus), Petit (Arsenal), Laigle (Sampdoria); Laslandes (Bordeaux), Guivarc'h (Auxerre). Substitutes: Djorkaeff (Internazionale) for Laslandes, 71; Boghossian (Sampdoria) for Petit, 73; Candela (Roma), for Laigle, 80; Gava (Paris St-Germain) for Ba, 80.

SCOTLAND (3-5-2): Sullivan (Wimbledon); Calderwood (Tottenham), Weir (Heart of Midlothian), Dailly (Derby); Burley (Celtic), McAllister (Coventry), Collins (Monaco), B McKinlay (Blackburn), Boyd (Celtic); Gallacher (Blackburn), Durie (Rangers). Substitutes: Elliott (Leicester) for Weir, 76; T McKinlay (Celtic) for Boyd, 80; Donnelly (Celtic) for Gallacher, 83; Hopkin (Leeds) for Durie, 90.

Referee: A Lopez Nieto (Spain).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before