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By ESPN Staff

Blanc believes woes a thing of the past

Laurent Blanc hailed France's 2-0 Euro 2012 qualifying victory over Romania and is encouraged by signs of a renewed team spirit among a group still recovering from a disastrous World Cup campaign.

France had to be patient for their win at the Stade de France as substitutes Loic Remy and Yoann Gourcuff scored in the last seven minutes to take the team to the top of Group D with a 2-0 win.

The goals came after Cristian Sapunaru had given them a scare when his shot struck the inside of the post and rebounded into the grateful arms of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Blanc was impressed at how the team recovered from that nervy moment, following on from the breakdown in relations between the team and Blanc's predecessor Raymond Domenech at the World Cup in South Africa this summer and the late home defeat to Belarus in their opening Euro 2012 qualifier.

He told L'Equipe: "Something is being created here. The team was not discouraged and always believed in the victory, and this state of mind pleases me very much.

"Before this match I said the team lacked experience and a single match cannot change that. We experienced a difficult first half against a team which defended rigorously and took no risks and we were unable to create clear chances.

"At half-time I asked the players to be patient and not to get too excited. After the break, the match was very open and they, like us, had opportunities to open the scoring. What made the difference was the physical freshness of those who came on.''

Remy replaced Marseille team-mate Mathieu Valbuena and justified Blanc's decision with a precise finish from Alou Diarra's through-ball, and then two substitutes linked up for the second as debutant Dimitri Payet, in such impressive early-season form for St Etienne, teed up Gourcuff in stoppage time.

Diarra added: "We created many chances, and in this kind of game we needed to be calm. The patience paid off.

"The mood of the group is nice to see. There is a lot of talent in this team, and this is a long-awaited victory at the Stade de France. These two wins are good for morale, now, the qualification campaign has been launched. We now have three days to recover and take the three points against Luxembourg.''

France face Luxembourg in Metz on Tuesday.


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