Remy scores winner as France beats US 1-0

Loic Remy came off the bench to score the winner as France beat

the United States 1-0 in a friendly on Friday, extending its

unbeaten run to 16 matches under coach Laurent Blanc.

The Marseille striker chased a long ball down the right and held

off defender Clarence Goodson before beating goalkeeper Tim Howard

with a clinical finish into the bottom left corner in the 72nd

minute.

”It’s another win,” Blanc said. ”What pleased me was that the

players really tried to play good football, even though they didn’t

always succeed.”

Striker Karim Benzema and winger Jeremy Menez both squandered

France’s other chances.

”I don’t think the attacking players made the right choices at

times, otherwise we would have scored more,” Blanc said. ”We

could have done much better, especially in the first half.”

Benzema hit the crossbar with a close-range header in the 55th

minute after central defender Adil Rami had nodded on winger Franck

Ribery’s corner. A minute later, Benzema forced Howard into an

excellent reflex save from a curling free kick.

Blanc gave debuts to central defender Laurent Koscielny and

leftback Jeremy Mathieu.

Jurgen Klinsmann handed Goodson a start in central defense in

place of Oguchi Onyewu, but the rest of the lineup was unchanged

from last month’s 1-0 loss to Ecuador.

Jozy Altidore made his presence felt with a heavy shoulder barge

that sent midfielder Alou Diarra tumbling over early on, and

midfielder Brek Shea clashed heads with Koscielny as they

challenged for a high ball.

”They were a really physical team and stood up to us,” Blanc

said. ”They did well in that domain.”

Klinsmann was pleased with his players, but felt they lacked

composure at times.

”Here and there we were a little bit too hectic, that’s why we

lost a couple of balls too many in the first half after we actually

won them back,” Klinsmann said. ”Obviously it was difficult after

their goal. In these types of games, you make one or two individual

mistakes, you get punished.”

Despite showing commitment, Klinsmann’s team was pegged back for

most of the first 20 minutes.

Benzema and Menez combined for some attractive passing moves,

but the final pass was lacking.

”There were a lot of (mistakes) we could have cut out,” Remy

said. ”But we’re on a good run and that’s good for

confidence.”

With Samir Nasri out injured, and with both Marvin Martin and

Yohan Cabaye on the bench, France was crying out for a playmaker as

passes went astray.

”When you’re playing with four attackers, you need one of those

to be a passer, and we didn’t have that in the first half,” Blanc

said. ”The players who came on gave us that little bit

extra.”

Frustration appeared to get the better of Benzema when he tried

a long shot from wide left which sailed well over.

Searching for space to express himself, Benzema broke free down

the left midway through the half and whipped in a dangerous cross

that forced Howard off his line.

Winger Franck Ribery was largely kept quiet, unable to match his

scintillating early-season form for Bayern Munich. When Ribery did

finally dart to the front post to meet fullback Mathieu Debuchy’s

cross from the right, his instinctive flick flashed past Howard’s

post.

Menez then wasted a great chance when he caught right back Steve

Cherundolo out of position – following a U.S. corner – and cut the

ball back just behind Benzema.

Altidore mustered a half-chance for the U.S. in the 34th, but

failed to connect well and dragged his low shot wide.

The game started to open up late in the first half as the

Americans pushed forward, and Ribery started to get into the game.

Following his cross from the left, Menez blazed just over from the

penalty spot.

Benzema was France’s liveliest player but he should have done

better in the 45th with only Howard to beat. Benzema decided

against trying to lob the goalie, and then failed to poke the ball

through his legs.

The U.S. enjoyed spells of possession early in the second half,

but midfielder Kyle Beckerman and forward Clint Dempsey were hasty

with long shots that bounced tamely into goalkeeper Hugo Lloris’

arms.

Howard, meanwhile, plunged to his left to keep out Benzema’s

curling freekick from 25 yards in the 56th.

Moments later, Howard was a helpless onlooker as the ball

cannoned around him in a frenetic goalmouth scramble.

Blanc took Gameiro and M’Vila off, handing debuts to Lyon

holding midfielder Maxime Gonalons and Montpellier striker Olivier

Giroud. Benzema and Ribery were replaced in the 65th, with Martin

and Remy coming on.

Klinsmann gave Fabian Johnson his international debut in

midfield, taking off Danny Williams.

Remy soon forced Howard into a smart save, then beat Howard on

the next go, netting his fourth goal for France, and a carbon copy

of his late goal against Romania in a 2012 European Championship

qualifier last year.

”Whenever he comes on he seems to make a difference,” Benzema

said. ”I hope he continues like this.”

Menez then smacked the ball wide in the last minute.

Lineups:

France: Hugo Lloris; Mathieu Debuchy, Adil Rami, Laurent

Koscielny, Jeremy Mathieu; Alou Diarra, Yann M’Vila (Maxime

Gonalons, 59); Jeremy Menez, Franck Ribery (Loic Remy, 65), Karim

Benzema (Marvin Martin, 65), Kevin Gameiro (Olivier Giroud,

59).

United States: Tim Howard; Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson,

Carlos Bocanegra, Timmy Chandler; Kyle Beckerman (Jermaine Jones,

66), Danny Williams (Fabian Johnson, 71), Maurice Edu (Edson

Buddle, 76), Brek Shea (DaMarcus Beasley, 71); Clint Dempsey, Jozy

Altidore.