World Cup Qualifying: 10-Man France Sink Faroe Islands

From AFP - France's wobbly World Cup campaign was back on track here Wednesday after a 2-0 win over the Faroe Islands in a game marred by the expulsion of captain Patrick Vieria for diving.

Anything other than a convincing display against the part-timers from the North Atlantic would have set the alarm bells ringing just three matches in to the post-Zinedine Zidane era under new coach Raymond Domenech.

So the stakes could not have been higher after France's failure to score against Israel at the Stade de France on Saturday with Domenech insisting only a win would suffice.

And the three points were duly delivered thanks to goals from two players who missed out on France's failed Euro 2004 campaign - Ludovic Giuly and Djibril Cisse.

Cisse - who was forced to skip Portugal due to suspension - was instrumental in the first goal just after the half hour mark.

The Liverpool striker who had come on as an eighth minute substitute for Manchester United's Louis Saha flicked the ball back to Robert Pires who unleashed a shot from outside the 18 yard box.

Faroe Island's goalkeeper Jakup Mikkelson got his fingers to it but was unable to keep hold of the ball offering the lurking Giuly the chance to slot it into the left hand corner of the goal.

Minutes before his goal Benoit Pedretti selected in place of Claude Makelele had gone close to opening the scoring for France when his shot had Mikkelsen at full stretch to tip the ball over the crossbar.

As half time approached Thierry Henry watched in anguish as a header off a corner from the left struck the post.

France were down to ten men in the 55th minute when Vieira was sent packing by Scottish referee Craig Thomson.

The Arsenal skipper who was picking up his second yellow card was booked after falling to the ground in the box but replays appeared to show he was kicked in the process.

He was only the 20th player to be sent off when playing for France and he cut an unhappy figure as he handed the captain's armband to Henry who was to hand it on to Pires a few minutes later when he was replaced by Vikash Dhorasoo.

French nerves looked decidely shaky until Cisse added France's second in the 73rd minute - the former Auxerre attacker only having to tap in after a fine cross from the right from Giuly who was set up by a long ball from Pires.

The Faroe Islands hit for six by Switzerland on Saturday but capable of the odd surprise as Scotland who could only draw 2-2 with the Islanders in Euro 2004 qualifying will testify had claims for a penalty after Gael Givet handled the ball turned down in the second half.

And they went close to puncturing French morale with five minutes left when Gregory Coupet in goal did well to stop a header from Julian Johnsson.

France with four points are next on duty against Switzerland at home and Cyprus away in October.