Peter Taylor's England lost to hosts France on penalties in the semi-finals of the Toulon Tournament.
France 0-0 England (
France win 5-4 on pens)
Toulon Tournament, Semi-Final
Stade Mayol, Toulon
08 June 2005
England will have to make do with a place in the Third Place Play-Off after losing to France in the semi-finals of the Toulon Tournament.
After an end-to-end match, largely dominated by the hosts, Peter Taylor's side lost 5-4 on penalties after managing to hold their opponents to a goalless draw.
The first sight of goal fell for Tom Soares, who was only in the side after Anton Ferdinand injured himself in the warm-up thereby forcing Taylor to alter the shape of his side.
The ball broke loose in the penalty area after a cross from the right from Peter Whittingham and a mix-up in the French back-line almost allowed the Crystal Palace midfielder to put England in the lead.
Just a few yards out from goal, Soares had to stretch to reach the ball but just as he did so a magnificent diving tackle from Congre denied him a first goal for his country.
That gave England hope and for ten minutes they were on top. Midway through the first half, they created their best chance of the match when James Milner received the ball 40 yards from goal and flicked a smart pass over the top of the French defence.
The Newcastle man had spotted an intelligent run from Darren Ambrose, who chested the ball down, held off the attentions of Baptiste Martin and hit a left-footed shot which, though beating Mandada, hit the inside of the 'keeper's right-hand post.
That close call seemed to spark France back into life, although for all their midfield creativity the home side failed to find any quality in the final third and Scott Flinders in the England goal wasn't forced to make a save until late in the half.
Jimmy Briand and Nicolas Fauvergue were pulling the strings for France but it was Rennais' Arnold Mvuemba who nearly broke the deadlock on 30 minutes with an expertly-taken free-kick.
Middlesbrough defender Andrew Davies fouled Briand 25 yards from goal and as the England wall formed, Mvuemba hit a perfect, curling free-kick round the wall but was denied by the post.
The last ten minutes of the first half proved to be a taste of what was to come in the second as France continually pressurised the England goal only to be thwarted at the final moment.
A stinging drive from Mvuemba from all of 30 yards was brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar by Flinders before Fauvergue directed a firm header at goal, only for Liam Rosenior to hack the ball off the line.
Folly was the next Frenchman to go close as England were put firmly on the back foot. His shot also hit the woodwork and France's bad luck continued when another Fauvergue header was cleared.
Try as they might, the French could not get the ball past Flinders, and as the match reached its end, Taylor's side drew confidence and started to put the French centre-backs under pressure.
With twenty minutes left on the clock, substitute Wayne Routledge got behind the French defence for the first time in the match but, just as he looked set to pick out an unmarked Milner in the area, the excellent Martin got back to clear the danger.
Moments later Routledge was nearly let loose again but the French defenders, who have impressed throughout this tournament, were again alive to the danger.
France's frustration started to show and with only three minutes left on the clock, Loic Perrin was sent-off for kicking Milner after the pair were involved in a 50-50 challenge.
From the resulting free-kick, Tom Huddlestone floated the ball into the area where Steven Taylor headed on to Soares.
With Mandada in no-man's land, but under pressure from Carl Medjani, the Palace man headed agonisingly over from five yards out.
In truth England didn't have enough time to take advantage of the extra man because with no extra-time, the match went straight to penalties.
After each side converted its first two kicks, Greg Halford and Tom Huddlestone scoring for England, it was the unfortunate Milner who had his effort saved.
The remaining French penalty takers made no mistake and the hosts and holders went through to the final with Rudy Hadded's confident strike.
England will now take on Mexico for third place whilst France will be favourites when they take on Portugal for the title of champions.
England v France, Toulon, Toulon Tournament, 08 June 2005
France: Mandada, Congre, Martin, Medjani, Veigneau, Mvuemda, Diarra, Folly (Gigliotti, 56), Perrin, Briand, Fauvergue (Haddad, 77).
England: Scott Flinders - Barnsley, Liam Ridgewell - Aston Villa, Steven Taylor - Newcastle United, Andy Davies - Middlesbrough (Scott Wiseman - Hull City, 40), Peter Whittingham - Aston Villa (Liam Rosenior - Fulham, 40), Nigel Reo-Coker - West Ham United, Tom Soares - Crystal Palace, Tom Huddlestone - Tottenham Hotspur, James Milner - Newcastle United, Darren Ambrose - Newcastle United (Wayne Routledge - Crystal Palace, 55), Greg Halford - Colchester United
Subs not used: Jamie Young - Reading, John Welsh - Liverpool, Bradley Wright-Phillips - Manchester City, Ian Henderson - Norwich City, David Nugent - Preston North End