For England fans, this match will be remembered as the night David Beckham got his 100th cap for his country, after much media coverage in the last few months when he was 'stuck' on 99 appearances (it should be noted that there was a player on the pitch who had more caps than Beckham - Thuram made his 138th appearance for France). Sadly there wasn't much more to brag about from England's point of view in Paris. Coach, Fabio Capello, took full advantage of the opportunity to experiment with his players as he tries to get his side ready for their first real test under his leadership, which will come in September when the team starts it's World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign. Chelsea's John Terry and Frank Lampard were both back in the squad, and after being omitted from the last England squad through lack of match fitness (Major League Soccer's off-season is mid-November-late March), David Beckham was recalled. Two of the three goalkeepers initially named in the squad pulled out due to injury resulting in a call-up for Paul Robinson and Robert Green. Rio Ferdinand was named as England's captain, the first time he has skippered the side.
Capello opted to go with a 4-2-3-1 formation which in terms of possession was going well in the opening period of play for England. That was until David James up-ended Anelka and conceded a penalty. Ribery took the penalty in the 32nd minute and put his team ahead, however he was booked seconds after scoring for taking off his shirt to display a tribute to a late French commentator.
England made four changes at half-time, only one substitute being for an injury, which was to John Terry. Four minutes into the second half, Anelka looked to get his second goal of the night but his shot only just went over the crossbar. Peter Crouch's height looked to be causing a problem for France but nothing was materialising from the Liverpool player's efforts. Malouda hit a good shot from 25 yards out, but watched the ball just go wide of James' net.
Beckham was replaced in the 63rd minute by David Bentley, who had a good game against the Swiss last month. However, for all the fresh pairs of legs England put on the pitch, none of them could turn the game around in the visitors favour. England left Paris having lost this friendly, but it must be remembered that's all this fixture was, a friendly and a chance to figure out which players fit well together. For France, of course, this was a warm-up match for Euro 2008.
Coupet #23, Gallas #5, Abidal #3, Thuram #15, Clerc #13, Makelele #6, Toulalan #8, Malouda #7, Anelka #39 (Cisse 80 mins - #9), Trezequet #20 (Govou 64 mins - #10), Ribery #22.
Subs Not Used: Landreau #1, Mexes #4, Squillaci #17, Evra 27#, Diarra #18, Flamini #21.
James #1, R Ferdinand #5 - Captain, A Cole #3, Brown #2 (G Johnson 63 mins - #13), Terry #6 (Lescott 46 mins - #14), Gerrard #10 (Crouch 46 mins - #19), J Cole #11 (Downing 46 mins - #17), Barry #8, Beckham #7 (Bentley 63 mins - #16), Hargreaves #4, Rooney #9 (Owen 46 mins - #18).
Subs Not Used: Green #21, Robinson #12, Bridge #15, Walcott #20. (Full Squad)
France Goal: Ribery (32 mins - pen)
France Caution: Ribery (32 mins)
England Caution: Beckham (38 mins)
Referee: Florian Meyer (Germany)