TORSHAVN (AFP) - A record-equalling goal from Thierry Henry helped France to a 6-0 win over the Faroe Islands here on Saturday, a result that breathed fresh life into their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.
Bolton striker Nicolas Anelka put the French into a seventh minute lead with Henry doubling the advantage seconds later to draw level with Michel Platini's record of 41 goals for his country.
Karim Benzema's double, Jerome Rothen's finely executed freekick and Hatem Ben Arfa's late strike completed the rout in a match that wild weather had done its best to disrupt.
Desperate conditions in this far flung atlantic outpost had threatened to postpone the game with France unable to land as scheduled on Friday, Raymond Domenech's side being forced to divert to spend the night in the Norwegian coastal city of Bergen.
They finally made it to Torshavn with four hours to spare, but both sides agreed the fixture should go ahead as planned.
"Eleven hours in an airplane with stopovers in Scotland and then Norway is not ideal for anyone, but my players are taking it in their stride," Domenech said on arrival, and so it proved on the pitch.
This lopsided scoreline came as a welcome change for the French attack, which had proved impotent in its last two matches against Scotland and Italy.
In front of a crowd of barely 1,500 fans in this tiny stadium bordered by a roundabout, a swimming pool and a carpark, Anelka eased Gallic nerves with his early contribution.
Then came Henry's history making moment, a right-footed shot past Faroe Island keeper Jekup Mikkelson.
Four minutes into the second half and Benzema got the first leg of his double before Rothen, playing for his country for the first time since November 2005, curled in a sweetly taken freekick.
Benzema made it 5-0 in the 79th minute with substitute Ben Arfa celebrating his first international cap with France's sixth in the second minute of injury time.
France's win lifted them up a place into second in Group B on 22 points, two behind Scotland but third-placed Italy can regain second if the World Cup winners beat Georgia later Saturday.
France, Euro champions in 2000, have two more shots of securing their seat at next year's Euro 2008 finals with Lithuania next up on Wednesday followed by Ukraine on November 21.
Domenech said: "This is only a step along the way. Our mission will be completed if we take nine points (from the Faroes, Lithuania and Ukraine).
"We had 11 to 12 hours in the plane on Friday but no one complained. They remained concentrated on their objective, which I repeat we haven't yet accomplished. They all wanted to play the game."
France's tortuous trip to Torshavn had one final twist as instead of leaving for Paris straight after the game they have to wait until Sunday to give their pilot the statutory amount of rest between two flights.
|Coach: J. Olsen|
for H. Elttør 46'
for M. Thomassen 78'
for S. Samuelsen 86'
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