Norway sink France thanks to Huseklepp double
By Olivier Guillemain
OSLO (Reuters) - An experimental France team lost 2-1 in Norway on Wednesday in their first outing since a shambolic World Cup campaign, forward Erik Huseklepp scoring twice for the home side in a lively friendly.
Les Bleus opened the scoring with a superb goal from substitute Hatem Ben Arfa shortly after the break but Huseklepp levelled by deflecting a free kick into the net before hitting the winner after a counter-attack on 70 minutes.
New coach Laurent Blanc, who took none of France's World Cup squad members to Norway, fielded six uncapped players in his starting line-up for his first game in charge.
The nervy visitors failed to score their first win over Norway in 22 years but at least France showed more initiative than they did in their dismal displays in South Africa in June.
"I'm satisfied because I saw players who wanted to play, who played well and respected my instructions," Blanc told reporters.
"The result is not what we wanted and a defeat is never encouraging but I saw many positive things."
France, captained for the first time by defender Philippe Mexes, started well and first threatened with a header by defender Adil Rami that flew just over the bar on nine minutes. Continued...