FIVESTAR FRENCH LESSON
Knows the size of thechallenge now
France- Barthez, Candela, Leboeuf, Desailly (c), Lizarazu, Vieira, Petit, Zidane, Wiltord, Henry, Trezeguet
Scotland- Sullivan, Weir, Lambert (c), Matteo, Crainey, Dailly, Caldwell, Cameron, Freedman, Crawford, McCann
Subs: Douglas, McNaughton, Gemmill, Kenny Miller, McNamara, Thompson, Holt, Hughes, Paul Gallacher, Ross.
Subs: Rame, Silvestre, Makelele, Djorkaeff, Marlet,Christanval, Karembeu, Carriere.
Referee- J Granat (Poland)
Cute backheels, fancy flicks and swift pass moves. Yep, Scotland did well in the warm-up! To be honest, it's hard to take anything positive from the game. On the other hand it's actually fairly difficult to take anything negative from the game also. Quite simply, we were not allowed to play and came up against one of the best sides in the world. Scotland were given a masterclass by the world champions France as Berti Vogts watched his new charges ripped to shreds in Paris - they call it a baptism offire, Bertie.....
The Scottish line up was ambitious, even the most ardent Craig Brown fan must have been pleased to see the attacking formation set out by the new boss and he also handed first cap starting berths to Crainey of Celtic and Caldwell of Newcastle United (currently on loan at Hibs).
It was almost a dream start however just a few seconds into thegame as Fabien Barthez "fresh-aired"a backpass (to be fair it hit a rut) and the ball rolled wide for a corner. That was, ironically, Scotland's best chance of the match! On 8 minutes, the BBC's Rob McLean uttered the kiss of death "we've played pretty well up to now". Cue a Colin Cameron mistake and Zinedine Zidane to thunder a dipping shot past Sullivan only 3 minutes later. It was the typical Scottish hard luck story of playing well in the opening minutes and being hit with a touch of magic that we simply cannot compete with.
Matteo tries to tackle God. Why bother?
France put the foot to the floor and really turned on the style after that. Only 9 minutes after Zidane's majestic strike, Trezeguet struck with a header from a Lizarazu cross. Scotland were now trying desperately to hold on and the strong Frenchside, packed with experience, hardly gave the Scots a touch ofthe ball and gave the impression they could score any time they felt like it. The Scots best chance not taken by a French defender(!) came from Stevie Crawford. The Dunfermline striker nipped in behind the French backline superbly, yet when it came to the crunch the little striker snatched at his chance.
As Zidane ran the show, the Scots were by now reduced to chasing shadows. This was summed up by a brilliant third goal. Arsenal hit-man, Thierry Henry (heading away from goal) latched on to a cut back from Wiltord following some neat interpassing and sent a stunning strike on the turn into the top corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area. The camera behind the goal shows it better as it was postage stamp. On 40 minutes France made it 4-0 as Scotland were once again carved open. Viera threaded a pass through several defenders and found Trezeguet, who (recovering from a poor , for him, first touch)coolly lofted the ball over the advancing Sullivan from close range.
Whileyour down there, might as well pray they get bored
At halftime, 4-0 did in no way flatter the home side and if anything the Scots were glad it was 'only' four. At the break, Gary Holt and Scott Gemmill were introduced, as were Mikael Silvestre and Claude Makalele for the home side. The BBC summed this up as Norwich City and Everton versus Manchester United and Real Madrid. That in itself sums it up!
Half time: France 4 Scotland 0
The second half became a bit on a non-event as a further rash of substitutions disrupted the flow of the football. However, this is not to say that the Scots were not being given the run around. No, it was the French simply playing 'keepball'. It didn't help matters of course that any time Scotland regained possession it was surrendered in a few second. In truth, Scotland were spared any further embarrassment with the French content to toy with their opponents rather than finish them off. However things threatened to turn nasty when Trezeguet dived into Caldwell late. Sullivan wanted to exchange words and it had a feel of handbags about it.
With just a few minutes remaining, the late substitute Steve Marlet of Fulham gave the 80,000 crowd a bonus with a cool finish which flew high into the net following an excellent cutback from the impressive Lyon forward Eric Carriere. 5-0 flattered Scotland in my opinion as France looked likely to score in every attack. Quite simply, we were outclassed. Down to youth, new formation or new coach? No - down to France being head, shoulders and possibly even torso above us!
Final Score: France 5 Scotland 0
SF.net Man of the Match - Bixente Lizarazu. Zidane was the master, but Lizarazu never stopped and all the good work came down the French left side.