PARIS (AFP) - France signed off their World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign with a 3-1 victory at home to Austria at the Stade de France here on Wednesday.
Raymond Domenech's side had already secured a play-off place behind Group 7 winners Serbia and gained revenge for their 3-1 defeat to Austria in September thanks to goals from strikers Karim Benzema, Thierry Henry and Andre-Pierre Gignac.
The result puts Les Bleus in the draw for November's play-offs alongside the seven other best runners-up in the European zone.
Domenech took advantage of the fixture's essentially meaningless nature to field a number of fringe players, with Real Madrid striker Benzema earning his first start since December 2008.
The visitors produced the first serious attempt at goal when striker Stefan Maierhofer extended Hugo Lloris with an effort from the edge of the box, but a mistake from the Wolves man shortly afterwards led to the French opener.
In attempting to play his way out of trouble after a French corner, Maierhofer allowed himself to be dispossessed by Florent Malouda, who scuttled to the byline before crossing for Benzema to score with a diving header.
Henry made it 2-0 in the 26th minute, and extended his national record to 51 goals, with a powerful penalty after Christian Fuchs was penalised for a tug on France's roving right-back Rod Fanni.
Austria replied in the third minute of the second half when Marc Janko tapped home after Lloris had saved from substitute Erwin Hoffer, before Gignac -- on for Henry -- sealed France's victory by cutting in from the left and curling a beautiful finish into the bottom-right corner.
In the other matches in the group, group winners Serbia conceded two penalties in a 2-1 loss in Lithuania and Romania defeated the Faroe Islands 3-1.
|Coach: R. Domenech|
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