Argentina, without Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez, Juan Pablo Sorin and Pablo Zabaleta, came to France looking for their first win under new boss Alfio Basile and got precisely what they were after.

The new manager's first victory though was inspired by an old hand. Javier Zanetti, recalled to the team after his omission at last summer's World Cup, was the man who unlocked the French defence in the 15th minute.

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Playing a sumptuous one-two with Saviola, Zanetti reached the French by-line and pulled the ball back into the path of Hernan Crespo who doesn't miss from six yards. He didn't miss, but French keeper, Gregory Coupet managed to parry his shot. Unfortunately for Coupet the rebound fell for Saviola who, arriving late into the box, drove home his 11th goal for the Seleccion.

The goal seemed to galvanise Raymond Domenech's men. Franck "I am not a robot" Ribery showed duracell-bunny-esque regularity up and down the right flank as he combined with Willy Signol to find a way back for France. But despite engineering openings in the 20th, 35th and 42nd minutes, the Argentine goalkeeper, Roberto Abbondanzieri enjoyed a relatively quiet first 45 minutes.

It could have been very different. In the second minute of the match Thierry Henry played a delightful through ball to his former Arsenal team-mate Patrick Viera who hit the turf in dubious fashion as he charged into the area. The French appealed for a penalty but the Slovenian referee Damir Skomina knew better than to point to the spot.

France pushed hard in the second half for an equaliser with Ribery in particular working through his trick-book in an attempt to find a way past the experienced Roberto Ayala. But, despite the introduction of the in-form journeyman, Nicolas Anelka, the Argentine defence held firm.

Not averse to his fair share of attention, Anelka still managed to steal some of the headlines by sparking a ten man brawl in the closing minutes. Unhappy with the Argentine's desperate tackles in a late goal-mouth scramble the Bolton front man aired his thoughts to his aggressor prompting swift intervention from the officials.

The game degenerated into a scrappy affair as the full time whistle approached encouraging Argentine substitute Jonas Gutierrez to risk the wrath of the Parisians by heading for the corner flag rather than the goal when played through in stoppage time.

Following the decision of Real Madrid wonderkid Gonzalo Higuain's decision to play for Argentina, the place of his upbringing, rather than France, the place of his birth this result was a second blow for Les Bleus.

Domenech, not bitter in the slightest, responded to Higuain's preference for sunshine and samba by saying, "there are many players as good as him in France and we won't have to wait for him." He failed to name them.

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