, GRENOBLE, May 28 – Bafetimbi Gomis became the first French player since Zinedine Zidane to score a double on his international debut here on Tuesday as the French beat Ecuador 2-0 in a Euro 2008 warm-up match.
The 22-year-old struck a spectacular second-half brace to fully reward coach Raymond Domenech’s gamble on selecting him for his enlarged squad of 30 ahead of the finals which begin on June 7, though, he has to reduce it to 23 on Wednesday under UEFA rules.
The St Etienne striker’s efforts may well prove another finals heartbreak for Djibril Cisse, who after being booed having missed a header from a Nicolas Anelka cross gave way to him at half-time after the French had struggled to impose themselves against hardly one of the powerhouses of South American football.
It was a French side that was missing several stalwarts such as Thierry Henry, Claude Makelele and Patrick Vieira, who were all rested by Domenech.
©AFP – Franck Fife
However, Gomis refused to get too excited about the possibility of being named in the 23 on Wednesday and certainly refuted any comparisons to Zidane, who inspired the French to their 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 successes as well as reaching the 2006 World Cup final where they lost to Italy.
"To compare me to Zinedine Zidane is a bit too much," said Gomis.
"I have a lot to learn and to work on. I have to make lot of progress," he added.
Domenech, sphinxlike as ever refused to relate if his ideas on the final 23 had changed or indeed if Gomis had definitively made it.
©AFP – Franck Fife
"Gomis showed his qualities this evening (Tuesday) like other forwards among the squad possess," said Domenech, who against the odds guided France to the 2006 World Cup final.
"I hope he has a long career in the French side.
"Tonight (Tuesday) I won’t sleep because I have to tell seven players on Wednesday that they are not going to the finals and I have not had to do that before."
Gomis struck first in the 59th minute with a truly wonderful effort as he appeared to lose control after a loose first touch but persevered to win the ball and hit a stunning shot into the far corner.
His second was equally spectacular as supplied by Anelka four minutes from time he volleyed home from inside the area to secure a morale boosting victory for the 2000 champions, an effort that even had the demanding Domenech applauding, albeit in a sedentary position.