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Malouda hits the target as Belarus hold poor French

Laurent Blanc's French side stayed top of Euro 2012 Group D despite being held 1-1 in Belarus after a lacklustre performance last night. France made a steady start to the game, but went one down when Barcelona defender Eric Abidal scored an own goal after 20 minutes.

But the away side were not behind for long as Chelsea winger Florent Malouda got France back on level terms just two minutes later. And while Blanc's side piled on the pressure late on, they couldn't find the breakthrough.

Also in Group D, Romania saw off Bosnia 3-0 in their clash in Bucharest with Ciprian Marica hitting a brace with former Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu finishing off the scoring.

Italy secured a 3-0 victory over Estonia in their Group C game in Modena. Former Man Utd striker Giuseppe Rossi broke the deadlock after 21 minutes, while AC Milan striker Antonio Cassano got Italy's second goal after 39 minutes.

And the Italians put the result beyond any doubt when Inter Milan striker Giampaolo Pazzini struck the third after 68 minutes.

Elsewhere in Group C, 10-man Slovenia eased to a 2-0 win over Brian Kerr's Faroe Islands thanks to a Tim Matavz effort and Rogvi Baldvinsson own-goal in their Group C encounter.

Meanwhile, Mario Gomez grabbed a last-gasp winner as Germany beat Austria 2-1 to maintain a 100pc record in Group A. The Bayern Munich man gave Germany the lead before half-time, but Austria managed to draw level just five minutes after the break when Arne Friedrich put the ball into his own net. But Gomez struck late on to seal the vital victory.

Also in Group A, Belgium drew 1-1 with Turkey in Brussels.

Croatia ended a 16-year wait for a win at the Poljud Stadium by coming from behind to beat Georgia 2-1 in an enthralling clash in Group F.

Irish Independent