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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

France Boots Germany, Extends Unbeaten Run

STUTTGART, Germany -- A spectacular diving header from defender Laurent Blanc gave France a 1-0 victory over Euro '96 favorite Germany, extending its unbeaten run under coach Aime Jacquet to 22 games.


Blanc, who signed for Barcelona from Auxerre last month, connected with a Youri Djorkaeff free kick in the sixth minute to send the ball past Andreas Koepke in the German goal.


Berti Vogts' side, deprived of influential central defender J--rgen Kohler because of a thigh injury, stepped up a gear after the interval but could show only patches of the form which has made them the hot tip for the European Championships.


Borussia Dortmund midfielder Andy M?ller came closest to bringing the Germans level, hitting the crossbar with a vicious long-range shot in the 58th minute


Blanc's goal came after good work down the right wing by Christian Karembeu, who was eventually brought down by German fullback Christian Ziege.


Djorkaeff sent in a perfectly-weighted cross from the resultant free kick and the 30-year old sweeper provided a deadly finish.


The last time the Germans lost to the French on home soil was a 3-1 defeat in a 1954 friendly in Hanover.


"We're very proud and happy to have won tonight, especially against a country which is always competitive and which has won so many trophies," Jacquet said. "But I think we also had a bit of luck this time."


Germany's second-half improvement was largely due to the introduction of Bayern Munich's Mario Basler, who replaced Thomas Haessler at the interval.


The midfielder, who joined Bayern from Werder Bremen last month, provided a string of high-class crosses from the right wing but captain J--rgen Klinsmann and his strike partner Fredi Bobic failed to convert the chances. Vogts said the squad's two other strikers, Oliver Bierhoff and Stefan Kunz, would get a chance to stake their claim for a starting place in the match with Liechtenstein.


Russia 2, Poland 0. Russia extended its unbeaten run to 17 matches with an efficient 2-0 win over Poland.


The Russians attacked from the outset and were rewarded after 21 minutes when Yury Kovtun neatly headed home Ilya Tsymbalar's cross. Vladimir Beschyastnykh, who replaced forward Sergei Kiryakov in the second half, fired home the second goal in the 72nd minute from a pass by Yury Nikiforov.


Italy 2, Hungary 0. A seventh minute goal by Lazio striker Pierluigi Casiraghi set Italy on its way to a 2-0 win over Hungary in its final game before this month's European championship in England. Casiraghi latched on to a delightful pass from Roberto De Matteo and chipped the ball past goalkeeper Hajdu.


The visitors sealed the victory just after the break when Casiraghi's low cross from the right flank was turned into his own goal by Hungarian captain Janos Banfi.