Former champions France's hopes of making the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ finals suffered another blow when the 1998 winners were held to a 1-1 draw by Romania in their Group 7 qualifier.

France, who travel on Wednesday to a must-win qualifier with group leaders Serbia, who they trail by four points, took the lead through veteran captain Thierry Henry early in the second-half, only for Julien Escude to put through his own net a few minutes later.

The hosts had several opportunities in the first-half but with no positive results and in fact it was the visitors who had the clearest opportunity to break the deadlock when Ciprian Marica outstripped Escude on the left flank and his pass inside was seized upon by Romeo Sudu. However, with France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris horribly exposed, Sudu scuffed his shot and sent it wide of the far post.

The hosts came out fighting in the second-half and it only took them a few minutes to take the lead as Henry was on hand to volley home from former Arsenal team-mate William Gallas's header down from a corner.

Romania, who had played out a dire 0-0 draw with France at the UEFA Euro 2008 finals, reacted superbly as Escude's nightmare evening got worse when he stuck out his leg and directed a ball past Lloris in the French goal.

The evening had not started well for France coach Raymond Domenech who was jeered when his name was announced. Domenech had raised eyebrows when he had earlier opted to select Andre-Pierre Gignac instead of Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and whom he eventually sent on in the second-half.