October 13, 2007: UEFA Euro 2008 Qualifier, Group B:
Faroe Islands – France 0-6 (0-2)
0-1 Nicolas Anelka, 6 min. 0-2 Thierry Henry, 7 min.
0-3 Karim Benzema, 48 min.
0-4 Jerome Rothen, 63 min.
0-5 Karim Benzema, 78 min.
0-6 Hatem Ben Arfa 90 + 3 min.
Picture above:Nicolas Anelka has just made it 1-0 for France after 6 minutes.
For the third time in the EURO 08 qualifying campaign, the Faroe Islands lost by tennis score, as they were handsomely beaten by France who didn't even have to sweat for their victory.
The Faroese performance was a very lackluster one, from start to finish, and not one Faroese player can be satisfied with his efforts. They just simply lacked the will to fight for a good result. – An ingredient the Faroe Islands cannot play without.
Granted, the Faroes were hampered by the absence of some key players, mainly in defense. For example, long time captain and most capped Faroese player, central defender Óli Johannesen, just recently announced his retirement from the national team after 82 caps. Also defender Atli Danielsen was missing through suspension. This produced a debut for youngster Einar Hansen on left back (who was called up to the seniors rank from the U21 team). And on left back, the coach opted to move Christian Høgni Jacobsen to the right back position. This must be considered a rather strange disposal, as Christian Høgni plays as a striker in the Formula Division, and where he has been the top scorer for the last two seasons.
This clearly wasn't the right place for the striker. And it was also after a mistake from him after only 6 minutes that gave France the opening goal.
- Christian Høgni had come forward to the halfway-line (of course, he is a striker…) where he lost possession of the ball and instantly the French moved the ball forward to Ribéry, who surged into the penalty area and (too easily) rounded a defender before he made a cross from the byline to Nicolas Anelka, who was given too much freedom in front of goal, and he just had to touch the ball to put France ahead.
The goal should have been disallowed, though, as Anelka was ½ a meter off side!
However, less than a minute later, France had doubled their lead.
- This time Ribéry found Thierry Henry who with a simple shot-feint just inside the penalty area wrong-footed the Faroese defense, before he curled a flat shot into the goal just inside the post and out of reach for goalkeeper Jákup Mikkelsen. This was Henry's 41st goal for France, which makes him equal with Michel Platini, all-time record scorer for France.
Only 7 minutes played and already 2 goals down. The Faroe Islands never recovered from this disastrous start.
As the French seamed content with leading by two goals, pressure eased off a bit, and although France had possession for most of the remaining 38 minutes of the first half, they didn't create too scoring opportunities. A couple of times Jákup Mikkelsen was forced to make saves from French attempts, but these were saves that any international goalkeeper is supposed to make comfortably. – And Mikkelsen did that too.
At the other end the Faroe Islands never threatened the French goal throughout the entire 45 minutes.
But right from the start of the second half it went wrong for the Faroe Islands again. Only 3 minutes had gone, when Patrice Evra received a free kick just left of the Faroese penalty area. Ribéry crossed the ball in front of goal where Karim Benzema rose highest at the near post and unhindered headed the ball into the goal with his first touch of the ball.
After this, there was only one team on the pitch, really (well, that could be said about the first half too) and France was allowed to keep the ball at ease and at regular intervals, they put it into the Faroese goal.
Having said this, the Faroes did actually produce 3 excellent scoring opportunities in the second half. The first came after 58 minutes, when right back Christian Høgni Jacobsen after a fine solo run went into the penalty area, where Símun Samuelsen took over the ball, turned and shot, but unfortunately, the ball went just wide of the far side post. – It should have been a goal.
Instead it was France who made it 4-0 5 minutes later with a direct free kick from 27 meters. Jerome Rothen curled it beautifully into the top right corner.
When a quarter of an hour of the match was remaining, the Faroe Islands had a couple of good opportunities again. First, it was a long free kick from midfield that was knocked into the French penalty area, where Rógvi Jacobsen headed the ball across to a clear Christian Lamhauge Holst on the goal area-line, but Holst's poor header went over the goal.
Shortly after, Jón Rói Jacobsen was agonizingly close with a header in connection with a corner, but ball went just left of the French goal.
Instead it was France who increased their lead in the following minute. Evra on the left cut a low cross back to Henry, whose shot was blocked, but Henry reacted quickly to get the rebound over to a clear Benzema in front of the open goal, in which he placed the ball for Frances's 5th and his 2nd of the afternoon.
3 minutes into injury time, Hatem Ben Arfa made it a tennis-match result, when he slotted home France's 6th, when he received the ball in a clear position, after Thierry Henry had broken into the penalty area.
See all the goals of the match in the video below:
The match was close to have been cancelled because the French plane hadn't landed at the airport before 3 ½ hour before kick off, because of thick fog in the morning and yesterday.
Because of the weather conditions, the referees that were supposed to lead the match hadn't arrived either, but because there was a match scheduled in the U-21 competition between the Faroe Islands and Azerbaijan, it was decided to use the referees from that match in the seniors match instead, and then the U21 match will be played on Sunday instead, with the referees intended for the Faroe Islands – France match.
On Wednesday, the Faroe Islands play away to Ukraine while France take on Lithuania at home.