Football: Zidane refreshes France

FRANCE CAME from behind to secure a precious 3-2 victory against Armenia in Yerevan last night to give themselves a chance of qualifying for next summer's European Championship.

The world champions, below-par throughout, looked as if they would struggle to take all three points until a brilliant 25-yard shot from Zinedine Zidane in the 67th minute. With the score level at 1-1, he ran on to a Youri Djorkaeff knock-down and fired a left-footed shot inside the far post.

With the Armenian defence tiring, Lilian Laslandes made it 3-1 six minutes later with a powerful right-foot drive.

The late strikes came as a relief to France after a shock fifth-minute goal by Karapet Mikayelyan. The 29-year-old striker beat the French offside trap and slid the ball past Fabien Barthez from the edge of the penalty area.

That early strike left the world champions - desperate for a win to keep in the hunt for Euro 2000 qualification - stunned and dispirited, but they were handed an equaliser seconds before half-time when Laurent Blanc collected a long clearance from Barthez and was fouled by Vardan Khatchatrian as he was about to shoot. Djorkaeff, who received a hero's welcome from home fans before the match because of his Armenian ancestry, converted the penalty.

Armenia battled to the end and deep into second-half stoppage time scored through a Arnen Shakhgeldyan penalty.

France's victory means that they will be assured of at least second place - and therefore a place in the play-offs - if they win their final match against Iceland at the Stade de France next month. With the sweeper, Sarkis Hovsepyan, outstanding, Armenia looked capable of matching their home draws against Group Four contenders Ukraine and Iceland at the Hrazdan Stadium, and until Zidane's vital strike they never looked at ease and could have fallen behind for again in the 51st minute, when Tigran Yesayan went past three defenders before losing control as he was about to shoot. France's Frederic Dehu was sent off in injury time for a second yellow card.

In the same group Russia edged past Andorra 2-1 away, with both goals coming from Viktor Onopko.

Savo Milosevic, the former Aston Villa striker, took only 10 seconds to score for Yugoslavia in their 4-2 victory over Macedonia in Skopje. The result puts the Yugoslavs two points ahead of Croatia with the two teams due to meet on 10 October in Zagreb in the group decider, which will also have a bearing on the Republic of Ireland's fate. Yugoslavia would need only a draw to qualify for the finals for the first time since 1988. They qualified in 1992 but were barred because of United Nations sanctions over the war in Bosnia. They also were barred from qualifying for the 1996 tournament.

Boban Babunski helped Yugoslavia with a fourth-minute own goal. Dejan Stankovic added Yugoslavia's third with a spectacular volley under the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area in the 16th minute and Porto's Ljubinko Drulovic completed Yugoslavia's scoring six minutes before half- time. Macedonia managed only two chances from counter-attacks in the first 45 minutes, Dragan Veselinovski hitting the post after 20 minutes. In the second half, Macedonia finally broke through with Artim Saqiri scoring in the 59th minute and then Sasa Ciric cut the deficit to 4-2 in the 87th minute.

Igor Stepanov scored a second-half injury time equaliser to give Latvia a 2-2 draw with Georgia in Group Two, but it was not enough to halt his country's elimination from qualifying for the European Championship. The draw left Latvia in third place, four points behind Slovenia with only one more game to play.

Georgia dominated early on and took a 2-0 lead through the Ajax striker, Shota Arveladze, and Mikhail Kavelashvili. Latvia's fightback started after 62 minutes through Imans Bleidelis and they completed it after Georgia's Mamuka Tseretali was sent off after receiving his second yellow card 10 minutes from time.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer - West Sussex - permanent - £40k - £50k

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Project Manager (infrastructure, upgrades, rollouts)

£38000 - £45000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

Project Manager (App development, SAP, interfacing)

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum + excellent company benefits: Clearwater People Solu...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments