August 12, 2009: World Cup 2010 Qualifier, Group 7:

Faroe Islands – France 0-1 (0-1)
0-1 André-Pierre Gignac 41'

Although France had a clear majority of possession throughout the match, the Faroese defence mostly kept the French from creating clear-cut chances, although France did have a lot of half-chances. The Faroes on the other hand were rare guests on the French half, but deep into injury time, the Faroe Islands could have snatched a sensational equalizer, but Jákup á Borg’s header from close range went just wide of goal.

France kept a constant pressure on the Faroese goal in the first quarter of an hour but failed to test Jákup Mikkelsen however, as the Faroese defence kept the French from getting clear-cut chances.

On two occasions the Faroes could have become dangerous at the other end, but in decisive moments the Faroese players seemed too agitated to get the best out of the situations. On one occasion Christian Lamhauge Holst’s pass to Bogi Løkin on the right hand side just outside the penalty area never reached its destination even though Holst had plenty of time and space to make a quality pass, and a few moments later Løkin was in a great position inside the penalty area to either make a good pass in front of goal or to have a shot on goal himself, but in the end he played a “I-hope-this-pass-will-end-somewhere-that-in-the-end-will-produce-a-goal”-pass that ended in nothing.

(Before half an hour had been played, forward Christian Lamhauge Holst was substituted because of injury. His replacement was Joan Símun Edmundsson who turned 18 last month. Edmundsson was the player who scored for the U21 team in the sensational win over Russia earlier in the summer. He’s also playing in the U19 team. This was his debut for the Faroe Islands’ senior team. The youngest player to make his debut for the Faroe Islands was however Ingi Højsted who made his debut aged 17 years and 5 months).

However, on 20 minutes it were the Faroe Islands who had the best opportunity of the match so far, when centre-back Egil á Bø at the far post headed just wide after Súni Olsen’s cross from a free kick.

But in the same minute, France then created the best chance of the match when Malouda played André-Pierre Gignac clear in the penalty area, but the chance went begging as Gignac failed to connect with the ball with an attempted cheeky finish with his back against the goal.

However, four minutes from half-time this same combination finally broke the deadlock for France. Malouda again played forward to Gignac who turned and fired a flat shot into the back of the net from 10 metres.

The second half followed a similar pattern as the first, but with better opportunities for France than they had in the first half.

Seven minutes after the re-start France almost doubled their lead when the ball hit the top of the upright after a corner. Ten minutes later France went close again when a clear Malouda headed over from close range.

Midway through the second half France maintained a constant pressure on the Faroese goal which lasted for about a quarter of an hour before the pressure eased about 10 minutes from time.

In this period Jákup Mikkelsen saved twice from goal scorer Gignac. The first move was started by Ribéry who played a fine ball into the Faroese penalty area to Yoann Gourcuff who headed down to Gignac who shot, but Mikkelsen made a fine block with his legs. And later Gignac tried again, but Mikkelsen dived to avert the long-range shot around the post.

In stoppage time Ribery should have done better when he fired wide of the post from close range.

The Faroe Islands had threatened very little up fron in the second half, but deep into stoppage time they almost snatched a dramatic equalizer when Jákup á Borg headed just wide from close range after a long throw-in from Jónas Tór Næs.

You should have seen the sigh of relief on the face of France’s coach Raymond Domenech then.

Thierry Henry had pulled out of the French squad because of injury and Franc Ribéry didn’t come on before the 66th minute.

All results and table, group 7

Match highlights, Faroe Islands vs. France:

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