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    South Korea




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Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion, Stuttgart, Germany

Referee: Valentin Ivanov | Attendance: 52000

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0 - 0


Game 13

France 0-0 Switzerland

France and Switzerland once more proved evenly-matched teams as they drew 0-0 in their Group G World Cup opener.

The neighbouring countries drew both their qualifying matches for the tournament and were once more forced to share the spoils at Stuttgart's Gottlieb Daimler stadium.

Switzerland came closest to scoring when a probing Tranquillo Barnetta free-kick eluded a host of players and struck a post but France will feel they should have had a penalty when Thierry Henry's shot struck Patrick Muller's hand.

The first minutes were tentative and Franck Ribery, making his first start for France, fluffed his first touch after being set free down the left by Zinedine Zidane, playing in his last tournament before retirement.

The first shooting chance fell to Switzerland's Raphael Wicky but he totally miscued his shot.

France then produced a fine move with Zidane freeing Sylvain Wiltord whose cross was headed over by Henry while a dashing Ribery run was halted legally by Muller in the penalty area.

At the other end a neat Swiss move ended with another miscued shot, this time from Ricardo Cabanas.

Some clever play from full-back Willy Sagnol set up Patrick Vieira at the far post but the Juventus man fired over.

For Switzerland, Barnetta was coming into the game and his dribble and left-footed shot forced Fabien Barthez into action.

Zidane then produced his first real moment of inspiration with a lofted pass that set Henry free but the Arsenal man drove the ball across the goal with Wiltord unable to profit.

But then the Swiss came very close to open the scoring as Vieira conceded a free-kick.

Barnetta's chipped delivery eluded friend and foe alike and struck a post before falling to Alexander Frei who was off balance and could only shoot over.

Henry then almost gave Ribery his moment of glory as he fed the Marseille player whose shot was just too high.

The Arsenal man then tried his luck from the edge of the box with a shot saved not too convincingly by Pascal Zuberbuhler.

France then had a good shout for a penalty when a dreadful mistake by Philippe Senderos allowed Ribery through.

His pass to Henry was less than perfect but the forward still got off a shot which clearly struck Muller's hand.

Russian referee Valentin Ivanov, seen as a leading candidate to handle the final, ruled it accidental but the ball had looked goalbound.

Another Zidane pass released Henry but his unusually tentative shot was an easy save for Zuberbuhler and he was foiled again by the goalkeeper after 44 minutes.

Some neat play from Zidane and Ribery created the first chance of the second half for Vieira but the midfielder miscued.

Philipp Degen joined Barnetta, who had been cautioned in the first half, in the book for timewasting and then Switzerland coach Kobi Kuhn made his first substitution with the introduction of Daniel Gygax for Streller.

The 52,000 supporters were starting to get restless with both teams seemingly wilting in the early evening sunshine.

But France created a chance when Makelele dispossessed Cabanas and the ball was transferred via Henry to Wiltord only for Senderos to make a saving tackle at the expense of a corner.

At the other end Barnetta launched a daring raid down the left and centred towards Frei only for Eric Abidal to make a vital interception for France.

Abidal then conceded a free-kick which Ludovic Magnin lined up for the Swiss but his ambitious shot was saved with a two-fisted punch from Barthez.

Barthez then made a vital save to thwart Gygax's header from a Magnin cross at the far post as the Swiss started to improve.

France coach Raymond Domenech made a change with Louis Saha replacing a disappointing Ribery.

Cabanas was cautioned for a rash tackle on Sagnol but Zidane quickly joined him for taking the free-kick without Ivanov's permission.

From the retaken free-kick Henry headed Zidane's delivery just wide and then Arsenal youngster Johan Djourou got his chance as he entered for the fatigued Muller.

Zidane was wide with a speculative effort as the clock started to tick down and a fine one-two between Zidane and Wiltord ended with the latter and Degen needing treatment as the Swiss defender made a saving challenge.

Saha set up a late chance for fellow substitute Vikash Dhorasoo who fired just wide but at the other end Frei was cautioned for trying and failing to put Magnin's free-kick in the net with his hand.