A captain's performance from Patrick Vieira helped France see off Group G rivals Togo and claim a place in the last 16 of the World Cup.
Togo held out until half-time as France spurned a series of chances to open
the scoring in a match they had to win, ideally by two goals, to keep their
World Cup hopes alive.
However, Vieira celebrated his 30th birthday in style by opening the scoring
in the 55th minute and then setting up Thierry Henry for the second six minutes
It was a fine performance from the Juventus player who was standing in as
skipper for the suspended Zinedine Zidane, who was also celebrating his birthday
- the Real Madrid playmaker is 34.
France started brightly and created the first chance with some nice interplay
between Henry and Florent Malouda giving David Trezeguet a chance but the
striker fired wide.
Franck Ribery then worked a one-two with Trezeguet that nearly came off and
then the same combination came close to breaking through again when Ribery's
cross found the head of the recalled striker with Togo goalkeeper Kossi Agassa
doing well to tip the ball over.
But Togo then created their first opening with Emmanuel Adebayor feeding
Mohamed Kader whose shot from an angle was tipped away by Fabien Barthez and
another move from the Africans ended with Adebayor finding the side netting.
France, the victims of poor refereeing decisions in both their opening
matches, then had another dubious call when Trezeguet netted after a cross from
Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda ruled it for offside out but Trezeguet
looked to be level.
Henry then fired wide from close range after being set up by Willy Sagnol but
his blushes were spared by an offside flag and next Ribery's deflected shot
forced another save from Agassa.
Trezeguet had another sight at goal after 21 minutes after more good play from
Ribery but he scuffed his shot and Agassa saved - the goalkeeper was being kept
busy and next he clutched a shot from Mikael Silvestre.
Then Ribery had a glorious chance to give France the lead but blazed the ball
Adebayor spurned a free-kick chance from a good position when he was high and
wide while at the other end Vieira's shot was deflected over Agassa's crossbar.
Trezeguet was foiled again when Agassa smothered the ball at his feet after a
cross from Ribery who had been set free by Lilian Thuram, winning a record 117th
cap for Les Bleus.
There was more French fury when another offside flag halted Henry when
Trezeguet's pass looked to have been timed to perfection.
Ribery's shot was blocked as France continued to pressurise the Africans who
were playing the final match of their first World Cup.
Raymond Domenech's men continued to chase the game in the second half and next
it was Henry's turn to have a shot blocked but clever played by Kader and
Moustapha Salifou set up Adebayor who was wrongly called offside although
Barthez made the save anyway.
Kader, who scored Togo's first ever World Cup goal against South Korea, then
fired over after a solo run and needed treatment.
Ribery then missed the best chance yet after Henry freed Malouda down the
Malouda cut the ball back perfectly to Ribery but again he fired over with the
goal at his mercy.
But then Ribery atoned for his wayward finishing. The 23-year-old held the
ball well and played it inside to Vieira who swivelled and found the far corner
with his right foot to give France the lead.
Adebayor had a shot blocked at the other end but the goal Les Bleus were
looking for came shortly after the opener.
Sagnol's long ball was flicked on by Vieira to Henry who beat Agassa at his
far post with his right foot after 61 minutes to the delight of the French fans
who, for the first time in this World Cup, were the majority in the 45,000
France played out the match and now still have hopes of regaining the trophy
they won the last time the World Cup was played in Europe.