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World Cup warm-ups

Gallas saves France from defeat

May 30, 2010
By Soccernet staff

William Gallas proved he is edging back to full fitness with a second half equaliser as France battled to a 1-1 draw in Tunisia in their latest World Cup warm-up game on Sunday.

William Gallas is available on a free transfer
GettyImagesWilliam Gallas is available on a free transfer

Centre back Gallas, who had been a doubtful starter for the World Cup because of a sore calf muscle, reassured coach Raymond Domenech by heading home a Yoann Gourcuff free kick on 63 minutes to save the ex-world and European champions from defeat.

Tunisia fought bravely, opening the scoring on five minutes through forward Issam Jemaa, but France, still needing time to adapt to the new, 4-3-3 system they had introduced in a 2-1 win over Costa Rica on Wednesday, improved gradually.

Sven-Goran Eriksson's first match at the Ivory Coast helm finished in a 2-2 draw against Paraguay as the two World Cup qualifiers fine-tuned their preparations in Thonon Les-Bains, France.

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba opened the scoring for the Elephants nine minutes after the break when he netted his 44th international goal with a deflected free-kick, and Hibernian defender Sol Bamba extended their advantage with a 74th-minute volley.

But substitute Lucas Barrios pulled one back for the South Americans with a low shot a minute later and Aureliano Torres equalised a minute from time to deny Eriksson a winning start to his regime.

England needed two late own goals from Japan defenders Marcus Tanaka and Yuji Nakazawa to gain a 2-1 victory in their final World Cup warm-up match in Graz.

Tanaka had stunned England by giving Japan a seventh-minute lead and Fabio Capello's side looked uncertain at the back.

But Tanaka levelled matters when deflecting in a cross from Joe Cole and then Nakazawa suffered the same fate from a centre by Ashley Cole.

Belarus midfielder Syarhey Kislyak's 53rd-minute goal gave his side a 1-0 victory over World Cup qualifier South Korea.

The win ended South Korea's four-match winning streak, which included victories over fellow World Cup hopefuls Ivory Coast and Japan.

Mexico warmed up for the Finals with a 5-1 victory over Gambia thanks to two goals apiece from Javier Hernandez and Adolfo Bautista.

Hernandez gave Mexico a 1-0 half-time lead and doubled it five minutes into the second half. Bautista then scored his first, before Gambia earned their only goal through Ebrima Sohna's header in the 65th after a corner.

Bautista connected at the far post to make it 4-1 and Alberto Medina slotted home from the left after a counterattack to complete the win.

Chile continued their World Cup preparations with a comfortable 1-0 victory over an inexperienced Northern Ireland side in Chillan.

Esteban Paredes got the only goal of the game for the South Americans as his far-post header on the half-hour mark secured the spoils.