France 5-0 Faroe Islands: Les Blues Seal Play-Off Spot
Goals from Gignac, Gallas, Anelka and Benzema saw the Faroes off.
Les Blues lined up as they had been expected to all week, with Andre-Pierre Gignac partnering Nicolas Anelka up front, and Thierry Henry and Sidney Govou on the wings.
As expected, it was the home side who dominated completely from the start. Henry looked particularly lively, and it seemed only a matter of time before they broke the deadlock. Jeremy Toulalan thought he had done just that on 11 minutes, but his rasping drive from distance hit the inside of the post and bounced out.
The Faroes hadn’t entered the French half since kick-off, but they finally registered a shot on 18 minutes, when Rogvi Jacobsen’s drive from distance flew just wide. France immediately went up the other end, and could consider themselves slightly unfortunate not to have been awarded a penalty when Atli Gregersen handled the ball, albeit accidentally.
The ball was just not going in for France, and the woodwork was rattled once more, when Govou’s drive smacked against the crossbar. However, on 35 minutes, the deadlock was deservedly broken, when Gignac met Anelka’s ball in the box, turned his marker and fired in past a helpless Jakup Mikkelsen.
The Toulouse striker has been in red hot form an international level, and it only took him four minutes to double his tally for the night. Receiving Steve Mandanda’s goal-kick, he went past four players before smashing a shot into the corner from a tight angle.
Thus France went into the break ahead by two goals, and almost guaranteed to secure a play-off spot.
Les Blues came out for the second half eager to increase their advantage, and they did so on 53 minutes. Henry received the ball from a short corner and floated it to the back post, where William Gallas was waiting to nod home.
A rout was now on the cards, and Gignac nearly claimed his hat-trick minutes later, when his drive from range narrowly missed the target. He was a man on a mission, and only a brilliant save from Mikkelsen denied him, after he had cut inside two defenders on the right and let fly.
Unfortunately for Gignac, he was replaced by Karim Benzema with 20 minutes remaining. A few minutes later, a more bizarre substitution occurred, when referee Robert Malek was replaced by Pawel Gil due to injury.
With ten minutes left, Anelka nearly increased the lead after a brilliant one-two with Benzema saw him through on goal, but Mikkelsen pulled off another spectacular save. The keeper was at it again minutes later, saving with his feet after a cheeky flick towards goal from Henry.
Mikkelsen was having an inspired game, and he made another great save from Henry. This time, however, it fell back out to Anelka, who tapped it home. Then, just to put the icing on the cake, Benzema went on a terrific run before smashing home from distance, making it 5-0.
Unfortunately for Les Blues, that was the same scoreline by which Serbia beat Romania, meaning that France will now enter the play-offs.