France beats Poland 1-0 in friendly
WARSAW, Poland (AP)
France finished the season on a high note by beating Poland 1-0 Thursday in a friendly to stretch its unbeaten run to 10 matches.
Bacary Sagna slipped the ball to Wigan winger Charles N'Zogbia, whose low strike from the edge of the box was deflected home by Poland defender Tomasz Jodlowiec in the 12th minute.
France beat Ukraine 4-1 on Monday while Poland, which hosts the European Championship together with Ukraine next year, edged Argentina 2-1 on Sunday.
''We didn't waste our time,'' France coach Laurent Blanc told TF1 television. ''There were some nice individual surprises in the last two matches. We also confirmed that we have improved a bit in our game.''
Poland coach Franciszek Smuda said Szczesny had played a ''terrific match,'' and added that he was pleased to test his side against ''such an adversary.''
France created the first scoring chance in a first half played at a high tempo. Guillaume Hoarau headed a free kick from Yohan Cabaye after four minutes but Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny dived to his left to make the save.
Hoarau came close to doubling the lead for France in the 35th but Szczesny intercepted N'Zogbia's cross before Hoarau could put a foot on the ball.
Both teams played with plenty of commitment although it was just a friendly. Szczesny collided with N'Zogbia in the 34th after rushing out of his area to clear the ball. A brawl nearly started in the 42nd when Poland playmaker Ludovic Obraniak fouled Patrice Evra.
''It was a complicated match with a Poland team that played very well,'' France defender Eric Abidal told TF1 television. ''But we managed to put them in trouble by imposing our game and holding the ball.''
In the second half, Cedric Carrasso was tested for the first time of the match in the 56th with a dipping free kick from Obraniak that eluded the defense but was caught by the France goalkeeper.
France then attempted to find the net with long-range efforts, forcing Szczesny to stop a 25-yard drive from Valbuena in the 58th and a curling free kick from N'Zogbia in the 59th.
Borussia Dortmund Robert Lewandowski created Poland's first clear-cut chance in the 63rd, chesting down a poor clearance from the France defense to fire inches wide of the post.
The next minute, in a move similar to the first goal, N'Zogbia cut inside to fire a low shot that was parried by Szczesny.
Szczesny saved his team again in the 74th. Hoarau collected a through ball from Florent Malouda to be clean through on goal but was denied by the Arsenal goalkeeper.
It was then Carrasso's turn to help France protect its lead as the Bordeaux goalkeeper punched away a long-range strike from Dariusz Dudka after Sagna had cleared a header from Lewandowski off the line.
Carrasso also stopped a swerving shot from Adam Matuszczyk in the 84th.
Sochaux midfielder Marvin Martin was relatively quiet in Warsaw after his outstanding performance three days ago in Ukraine, where he scored twice and had an assist in France's 4-1 win over Ukraine.
Martin found Adil Rami with a free kick in the 82nd but the defender's header went straight into Szczesny's arms. He then took his chance with a curling shot in the 87th that sailed over the bar.
France next plays Chile in a friendly on August 10 at Montpellier.
Poland: Wojciech Szczesny; Jakub Wawrzyniak, Grzegorz Wojtkowiak, Tomasz Jodlowiec, Lukasz Piszczek, Dariusz Dudka, Ludovic Obraniak (Szymon Pawlowski, 88), Rafal Murawski, Adrian Mierzejewski (Adam Matuszczyk, 78), Robert Lewandowski, Jakub Blaszczykowski (Pawel Brozek, 87).
France: Cedric Carrasso; Patrice Evra, Eric Abidal, Younes Kaboul (Adil Rami, 27), Bacary Sagna, Marvin Martin, Alou Diarra (Abou Diaby, 46), Yohan Cabaye (Yann M'Vila, 46), Mathieu Valbuena (Florent Malouda, 73), Guillaume Hoarau (Kevin Gameiro, 78), Charles N'Zogbia (Loic Remy, 73).