France's nightmare goes on with Belarus defeat


French hopes of rapidly turning the corner after their disastrous World Cup campaign proved ill-founded when new coach Laurent Blanc's first competitive game ended with a 1-0 defeat to Belarus in Paris last night.

Les Bleus were booed off at the Stade de France after an 86th-minute goal from Sergei Kislyak gave the visitors victory in Group C of the Euro 2012 qualifiers. Blanc had brought back a number of World Cup players who had been suspended for the friendly defeat to Norway last month but an unfamiliar line-up failed to make the most of their chances and let in Kislyak just before the end.

Italy, who also suffered an ignominious time in South Africa, were trailing 1-0 to Estonia but fought back to win 2-1, the recalled Antonio Cassano getting their equaliser. It was the Azzurri's first victory of the year, Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci getting their winner.

Keith Fahey's first international was enough to secure the Republic of Ireland a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Armenia in a sweltering Yerevan. Before the game the Ireland coach, Giovanni Trapattoni, had admitted he would be satisfied with a one-goal victory and he would have been happy when Fahey, on as a substitute for Aiden McGeady, latched on to a loose ball in the Armenia penalty area to score with a firm drive with 14 minutes to go. The Birmingham City midfielder's goal would also have been a relief for captain Robbie Keane, who passed up a glorious early chance, had a goal ruled out for offside and then hit the post.

Northern Ireland ended a 10-game winless streak and scored for the first time in eight matches by snatching an unlikely 1-0 victory over Slovenia in Maribor. The visitors spent most of the night defending desperately in but, having not found the net for a year, the Irish stunned the crowd 20 minutes from time when Craig Cathcart's low cross was turned in by substitute Corry Evans with his first touch.

Elsewhere, world champions Spain brushed aside Liechtenstein 4-0, Fernando Torres scoring twice, Portugal shared eight goals with Cyprus in a remarkable game in Guimaraes and Germany beat Belgium 1-0 in Brussels, Miroslav Klose tapping in the winner.

England's Under-21 side took a major step towards securing a play-off place for next summer's European Championships with a deserved 1-0 win over Portugal in Barcelos last night.

Stuart Pearce, the Under-21 coach, decided to drop Arsenal's Jack Wilshere on the bench, while the new Manchester United striker Bebe made his debut for the home side. England made most of the running in the first half and Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge gave them the lead in the 35th minute when he ran on to Tom Cleverley's pass to chip goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridgeface-off in the final
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas