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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Karpin Stuns France for Russian Revival




PARIS -- World champion France crashed to its first home defeat in two years and first since 1993 in official competition when they lost 3-2 to Russia in their Euro 2000 Group 4 qualifier on Saturday.


The defeat threatens France's chances of reaching the finals after they dropped to third in their group, three points behind Ukraine and one adrift of Iceland.


Russia, which scored a brilliant winner through Celta Vigo midfielder Valery Karpin five minutes from time, was the last team to beat France anywhere, 1-0 in a World Cup warmup in Moscow 14 months ago.


Russia's coach Oleg Romantsev said: "Both teams had the chance to win the match but I thought we deserved it."


Karpin stunned the crowd of 78,000 when he shot home after substitute Ilya Tsymbalar left two men stranded out on the left wing with a deft touch to run between them and cross low across the front of Fabien Barthez's goal.


Ten minutes earlier, 23-year-old Alexander Panov struck a brilliant equalizer for the Russians, who had trailed 2-1 since the 54th minute.


Running on to a diagonal ball from midfield out to the right, the Zenit-St. Petersburg striker blasted the ball home between Barthez and the near post for his second goal.


Panov scored his first goal for Russia in his fourth international when he gave his team the lead five minutes before the interval.


Midfielder Yegor Titov ran on to a well placed ball behind left back Vincent Candela. When Titov crossed square the ball hit Candela's arm, stranding Barthez, and Panov slid in to score.


Goalkeeper Alexander Filimonov kept the Russians in the game with some fine saves during heavy French pressure midway through each half and it proved vital as his team mates delivered at the other end.


Also on Saturday, Sweden drew 0-0 with 10-man England at Wembley to take command of Group 5.


England produced one of its worst performances for years as it never came close to scoring in another Wembley flop.


The home side was not helped by the 51st minute dismissal of Paul Scholes for a second booking but in truth it was never able to threaten the well-drilled visitors who hit the bar with a Fredrik Ljungberg free kick.


Sweden now looks like a certain qualifier with 13 points while third-placed England, which has eight from five, must win in Bulgaria on Wednesday and then against old rival Poland in September to have a chance of reaching the playoffs.