Scotland shock France
Walter Smith's side rode their luck to register a famous win
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Saturday, 07, Oct 2006 08:23
Scotland claimed an unexpected win over former European and World champions France as Gary Caldwell scored the only goal of their European Championship qualifier.
William Gallas had claimed in the build-up to the tie that France's World Cup performance should leave their opponents quaking in their boots, but the Scots never looked in awe of the visitors.
Walter Smith's tactic of absorbing French pressure and seeking to counterattack at speed frustrated his opposite number Raymond Domenech who found his side threatening most from set-pieces.
Unable to break down Scotland's packed midfield in open play, Thierry Henry went closest for the World Cup finalists early on curling a free-kick against Craig Gordon's post.
Former Arsenal anchorman Patrick Vieira headed home from Franck Ribery's measured delivery a few minutes later, but his celebrations were cut short by the linesman's flag.
David Trezeguet was similarly denied after he beat Gordon with a fierce shot but found his run behind the defence judged premature.
James McFadden, by contrast, ploughed a lonely furrow up front in the first half as his team prioritised defending deep ahead of supplying him with support.
Having watched the French go close from a host of dead-ball situations before the break, the Hampden Park crowd erupted as Gary Caldwell poked home a loose ball from a corner on 65 minutes.
The expected onslaught came as the French threw everything forward to try and take something from the game, but they lacked the guile necessary to unlock the stubborn Scots.
Henry had a chance to continue his run of headed goals, but with three minutes remaining his effort found the grateful arms of Gordon when really the net should have bulged, assuring the Scots a famous victory.