Raymond Domenech hailed his players' application after watching Les Bleus struggle to overcome Costa Rica in a 2-1 victory last night.

France toiled for much of the evening, falling behind to a Carlos Hernandez strike before battling back to win with goals from Franck Ribery and debutant Mathieu Valbuena.

It was not the convincing win Domenech would have been hoping for from their opening FIFA World Cup™ warm-up match but he still found reasons to be optimistic.

"The desire to win came at the conclusion of a week of work together," said Domenech, who also pointed to a spell of high-altitude training in Tignes as a factor for a jaded display.

"It was not easy to prepare for an international match after Tignes but they confirmed what they wanted to do," he said. "When they have that faith and desire they do not feel tired. They pleased the fans, they are satisfied, happy and less tired."

Although the final score did not reflect it, France were more fluent going forward than in recent internationals. "I told them to let go and try to create," he added. "It is a warm-up game, there will be others. But I would like them to keep this desire, abandon and panache."

Domenech was boosted by a 45-minute appearance last night from central defender William Gallas, who is battling back from a calf injury. "I was reassured," he said, "but I was reassured (after watching him) in training. You have to play games and he needs to gradually regain his rhythm."

Valbuena was another man to catch the eye. The Marseille midfielder grabbed a fine winner with seven minutes to go, taking Abou Diaby's pass and cracking in a shot from 25 yards. "I think for a first game, it could have not gone any better," Valbuena said. "I scored and the team won."