France suffers embarrassing loss to China
France lost 1-0 to China in its final warmup match before the start of the World Cup in South Africa.
Deng Zhuo Xiang scored in the 68th minute with a swerving free kick from 25 yards.
The result dealt a blow to France's confidence as the 2006 World Cup finalist has allowed a goal in each of its last three friendlies while scoring just three times.
"It's the type of match where you know that no matter what we do, it couldn't go in. That's too bad," France coach Raymond Domenech told TF1 television.
"I'm like everybody, I'm disappointed. But the World Cup isn't today, it starts the 11th," Domenech said. "We still have a week to put everything in place, study our options."
France drew 1-1 with Tunisia last weekend and beat Costa Rica 2-1 last month. It will open its World Cup schedule against Uruguay on June 11, before taking on Mexico and host South Africa in Group A.
"It's a solid team that will be tough to outmanoeuvre," Domenech said about Uruguay. "Then we face Mexico, which just beat Italy. So we know it won't be easy. But it won't be easy, either, for our opponents."
China failed to qualify for the World Cup and was missing several starters.
Zhang Cheng made some crucial saves to preserve the victory.
Sidney Govou nearly tied it for France in the 71st but Zhang denied him and Nicolas Anelka, who pounced on the rebound, had his close-range shot blocked by the China goalkeeper.
Then Zhang dived in the 82nd to send the ball wide on a long-range strike from Abou Diaby before stopping an angled shot by Andre-Pierre Gignac in the 85th. He came off his goal line to get the better of Thierry Henry in the 90th.
A very disciplined team which mainly relies on swift counterattacks to score, China spent most of the first half bending under France's pressure.
France dominated possession but struggled to create clear-cut chances.
Florent Malouda made a run on the left flank to fire an angled shot that was saved by Cheng in the second minute. France kept pressing but Franck Ribery’s low shot from the edge of the box was stopped by Cheng in the three minutes later.
William Gallas found the net in the 13th with a backheel flick off a pass from Nicolas Anelka, but the defender was offside.
France’s best chance in the first half came when Gallas headed a corner from Gourcuff just wide of the post in the 35th.