Savidan shines in France draw with Uruguay

PARIS - France were held to a disappointing goalless draw by Uruguay in a friendly on Wednesday. The result ended a miserable year for the 1998 world champions, who were knocked out in the first round of Euro 2008 in June. However, there was something to cheer for the 79,666 crowd as Caen's debut striker Steve Savidan lit up the Stade de France with a bold performance including two bicycle kicks. "It was a bit better in the second half ... we put more rhythm into the match. We did not concede a goal, that's a good point," France coach Raymond Domenech told reporters. The home team enjoyed most of the possession but it was Uruguay who had the best chance in the first half when striker Cristian Rodriguez shot narrowly wide from the edge of the area in the 23rd minute. Nicolas Anelka was the most dangerous player for France, trying his luck three times in the opening 30 minutes before being replaced by Savidan at halftime. FORMER DUSTMAN The 30-year-old Savidan, a former dustman who was playing in the third division three years ago, had two clear chances. His first attempt, a powerful shot from just inside the box, was parried by keeper Fabian Carini. Savidan's second effort was a bicycle kick from the penalty spot which went millimetres wide. France struggled in midfield as Uruguay committed several fouls to slow the pace of the game. Captain Patrick Vieira, who had not played an international since February, was replaced at halftime by Alou Diarra. "It was important for me to play again for France," said midfielder Vieira. Franck Ribery also limped off in the second half after a late, high tackle by Alvaro Pereira. France's next game is a friendly against Argentina at Marseille's Stade Velodrome on February 11.