'Deep change' buoys France

Recovery from World Cup disaster continues with 2-0 win over Romania as Croatia beat Israel in Euro qualifiers.

    Gourcuff slots home to give Les Bleus a second-straight win in Euro 2012 qualifying [AFP]

    France put their World Cup fiasco behind them as late goals by substitutes Loic Remy and Yoann Gourcuff earned them a 2-0 home win against Romania and top spot in Euro 2012 qualifying Group D on Saturday.

    Les Bleus, who made an embarrassing first-round exit in South Africa, saw their campaign gather pace in a packed Stade de France after leaving it late to see off a tough Romania side.

    Striker Remy, a 68th-minute replacement for Mathieu Valbuena, fired a low shot into the far corner of the net after a quick counter attack seven minutes from time.

    Playmaker Gourcuff, featuring for the first time since Les Bleus's farcical South African campaign, came off the bench to put the result beyond doubt in stoppage time.

    "There is a deep change but it's only the beginning," winger Florent Malouda said.

    "We said after the Bosnia game (a 2-0 away win) that we were able to play well. It's good for our confidence because only good results can give you confidence."

    Embarrassing

    Laurent Blanc's side, who started the campaign with an embarrassing defeat at home to Belarus, now have six points from three matches ahead of Albania and the Belarussians on five.

    Romania stay second from bottom with two points.

    France's next qualifier is against Luxembourg in Metz on Tuesday.

    Two first-half goals by Niko Kranjcar fired Croatia to a 2-1 win over Israel and put them top of Group F on Saturday.

    Kranjcar scored from the penalty spot in the 36th minute and added his second four minutes before the break with an excellent low shot.

    Etay Shechter pulled a goal back for the hosts nine minutes from time to set up a tense finale but Croatia held firm despite late pressure.

    Croatia have seven points from three games with Georgia and Greece on five. Israel have four followed by Latvia and Malta.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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