Switzerland hold France to a goalless draw
Stuttgart, June 13 (Xinhua) France were forced to a 0-0 tie by Switzerland in their 2006 World Cup opener here Tuesday.
While retiring Zidane and some of his teammates were fighting for their final glory in the international stage, the Les Bleus had yet to overcome the spectre from the 2002 tournament when they suffered a shocking early exit in the first round.
The French were sharper to every ball at the very beginning and that good spell of pressure ended with Patrick Vieira mis-hitting for a Sagnol cross in the 14th minute.
In the 36th minute, a slip from Swiss defender Philippe Senderos allowed Frank Ribery to race in on goal.
But the Marseille winger seemed unsure of himself and passed the ball to Thiery Henry instead of going for goal himself.
The Arsenal striker's shot was shut off by an apparent handball of Swiss defender Patrick Mueller, which was not awarded by the Russian referee.
Henry also squandered a couple of chances when his shots went either wide or high or right into the Swiss keeper Pascal Zuberbuehler's fingers.
Switzerland had a real good chance in the 23rd minute, when Tranquillo Barnetta's indirect free kick eluded everyone and came back off Fabien Barthez's left hand post.
Swiss defender Alexander Frei reached the bounce but his shots first hit the post, and then went high off the bar.
The second half proved the same for the French as few opportunities came their way although Franck Ribery was substituted by forward Louis Saha to strengthen offence in the 72nd minute.
Some direct running from Lyon striker Sylvain Wiltord nearly forced an opportunity for the French six minutes from the end.