Domenech suffers China crisis as misfiring France slump to defeat


France 0-1 China

The poor form of Raymond Domenech's side in the run-up to the World Cup finals continued last night as they were beaten by China, ranked just 84 in the world.

The French drew with Tunisia and only beat Costa Rica 2-1 recently and marked their first appearance on the French Indian Ocean island of Réunion with a lacklustre display where they rarely looked like scoring.

However, Domenech refused to be downhearted. "I think we are improving," the highly criticised coach insisted. "We created a lot more chances than we did in our last two games. I'm not saying it was perfect but it was better.

"Having lost will force us to be more careful, more inspired and to work harder."

Domenech fielded the same team that had started the previous two matches, which meant that Thierry Henry was again on the bench. They started brightly but the best chance the French carved out in the first half-hour was a Yoann Gourcuff drive which China goalkeeper Zeng Cheng comfortably saved.

William Gallas, who shook off the illness that stopped him training on Wednesday, then had a couple of headers go narrowly wide. China had scarcely featured as an attacking force but took the lead in the 68th minute through Deng Zhuoxiang's 30-yard floated free-kick.

Les Bleus tried desperately to find the equaliser and three minutes later Sidney Govou saw his shot blocked by Zeng but only as far as Henry, who also fired straight at the China goalkeeper.

In a frantic finale France laid siege to the Chinese goal but lacked the composure to equalise. That was typified in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Gourcuff's free-kick arrived at the far post. Henry flicked it on for Gallas but the Arsenal defender failed to turn the ball in.



Slovenia 3-1 New Zealand

Slovenia, who are in England's group, beat fellow World Cup finalists New Zealand in Maribor last night, with all the goals coming in the first half.

Striker Milivoje Novakovic gave the home side the lead after seven minutes, only for Plymouth Argyle's Rory Fallon to hit back for New Zealand.

Novakovic, who plays for Cologne in the Bundesliga, got his second in the 30th minute and winger Andraz Kirm made it 3-1 on the stroke of half-time.

News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there