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Football

Trezeguet dismissed as France held


TEL AVIV, Israel (Reuters) -- David Trezeguet was sent off for a head-butt as new World Cup Group Four leaders France were denied victory in Tel Aviv by a late Walid Badir equalizer for Israel.

France took the lead in the 50th minute with Trezeguet's header, but the striker was red carded by referee Markus Merk after his assault on defender Tal Ben Haim.

The point sent France above Ireland on goal difference while Switzerland boosted their qualifying bid when Alex Frei scored the only goal against Cyprus in Zurich.

Israel grew in strength after Trezeguet's departure and had several attempts at the French goal, eventually finding the net through Badir from a cross on the left by Adoram Keisi.

France and Israel have 10 points from six matches, one point more than Ireland and Switzerland who both have a game in hand.

The match was played at fast pace with the Israelis defending stoutly against the mostly inaccurate French assaults on their goal.

French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez was booed throughout the match by the Israeli fans who were protesting at what they saw as anti-Israel comments he had made last week.

Switzerland, outplayed by the islanders for much of the first half, dominated after the break but had to wait until two minutes from time to claim all three points when Frei headed in a cross by Ludovic Magnin.

It was the Rennes striker's 17th goal in 34 appearances for his nation who seemed uncomfortable with their status as hot favorites for Wednesday's match.

With only one point from their five previous Group Four matches, Cyprus missed several chances to take a shock lead early on, most notably through PAOK Saloniki striker Michalis Constantinou.

The Cypriots' misfortune was compounded in injury time when stand-in goalkeeper Nikos Panayiotou was sent off for a professional foul on teenage striker Johan Vonlanthen.


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