Wembley showing pleases Blanc

France coach Laurent Blanc said his team won the midfield battle in their 2-1 victory over England at Wembley on Wednesday.

Cleverly worked goals in each half from Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena sealed an emphatic victory for France as England crashed to the first home defeat of Capello's two-and-a-half-year reign. England's lone goal came from Peter Crouch on 86 minutes, the Tottenham striker scoring with his first touch after replacing Gerrard.

I think we won the midfield battle. It's difficult for England to attack if they don't have the ball.
France coach Laurent Blanc

Blanc could reflect on another solid display from France, rebuilding after their calamitous 2010 FIFA World Cup™ which saw them bundled out in the first round after a player mutiny. "I think we won the midfield battle. It's difficult for England to attack if they don't have the ball," Blanc said.

"And that's what really pleased me tonight - we had a lot of the ball. And not only did we keep the ball we managed to get forward in good positions to do damage when we did have the ball."Injuries to first-choice players including Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Glen Johnson and Jermain Defoe had given Capello the opportunity to blood several new faces in his starting line-up. But if Wednesday's performance was anything to go by, England's fans have few reasons to be optimistic about the future after Capello's men were outclassed for long periods by a resurgent Les Bleus.

The selection of Newcastle striker Andy Carroll had dominated the headlines in the build-up, but the 21-year-old with the chequered disciplinary record was barely involved before being substituted midway through the second half. Sunderland's promising midfielder Jordan Henderson also struggled to find his feet throughout while Arsenal's young full-back Kieran Gibbs, deputising for Cole, was badly exposed for the second goal.

Capello struggled to put a brave face on the loss afterwards. "France played very well in the first half, we played with a bit of fear and we missed lots of passes," Capello said. "We played a lot of long balls to Carroll but that's not the style that we like to play. It was interesting to see these players against a strong team like France."