France retained the Confederations Cup Sunday when Thierry Henry clinched a 1-0 win over Cameroon, the African champion which produced a defiant performance despite the death of teammate Marc-Vivien Foe.
Arsenal's Henry bagged a record fourth goal of the tournament in the 97th minute, deflecting a ball from short range with his knee after a through-ball was missed by Cameroon captain Rigobert Song.
The Africans easily held the European champion at bay ahead of the deciding goal and came closer to scoring during the 90 minutes of regular time than Les Bleus.
The Indomitable Lions chose to go ahead with the final -- its first ever in this competition -- as a tribute to Foe.
"My team really did well to play the way it did," Cameroon's coach Winfried Schaefer said.
"It was a wonderful day of soccer, but also a very sad day. It was important for us to play for the whole of Africa and for Foe. He wasn't just a great player, he was a great man," he said.
"The result wasn't the most important thing here today. We did this for Marco," he said. "It's just a pity we lost."
Overall, the match was a muted climax to the eight-nation tournament held over the past two weeks.
France, the European champion, won this title two years ago in Japan.
Yet the victory could not fully please coach Jacques Santini, who won his first international trophy.
"It leaves a taste of something missing," he said.
Both teams were despondent over the sudden death of the 28-year-old midfielder who collapsed and later died at Cameroon's semifinal game against Colombia on Thursday.
Foe's memory was keenly felt.
The players from the two teams held hands as they came out of the tunnel, and captains Rigobert Song and Marcel Desailly together held a large photograph of Foe. In the center circle they put their arms around each others' shoulders for a minute's silence.
The Cameroon players also held the photo of Foe on the podium when they received their silver medals while the 51,985 crowd at the Stade de France chanted Foe's name.
There were no celebrations. The French made no lap of honor, instead following the Cameroon team who took Foe's photo to salute the chanting fans.
The game pitted the tournament's hottest attack, with France finding the net 11 times before the final, against the tightest defense: Cameroon hadn't let in a single goal in its four matches here.
But France, missing Zinedine Zidane and Patrick Vieira, needed what appeared to be a fluke goal to overcome the gutsy Africans as the ball almost ricocheted off Henry into the net.
"The Cameroon players deserved this trophy as much as we did," Santini said.
Cameroon goalie Idriss Kameni admitted he was tired for the final.
"I've hardly slept over the past few days. The images [of Foe] kept coming back into my head," he said. "We missed Foe on the field as a player and off it as someone we could lean on."
France became the first country to win consecutive Confederations Cup titles.
Its feat came at the same venue where France lifted the World Cup trophy in 1998.
The game's first shot on goal came after only 17 minutes when Henry sent Idriss Kameni diving low to his right.
Then Henry finally worked some of his magic down the left flank, flicking the ball over his marker and crossing for Djibril Cisse to head just wide of the post in France's best first-half chance.
After that, most of the action was in the French half.
A sudden flurry of action inside the French penalty area had Les Bleus scrambling to block Cameroon's shots as the game gathered pace.
Fabien Barthez was at full stretch to keep out a sidefooted shot from Pius Ndiefi on a cross from Idrissou.
Henry missed a golden chance to break the stalemate after 55 minutes when a loose ball fell to him inside the area but his tapped shot scraped the Kameni's right post.
Robert Pires replaced Wiltord with 30 minutes left on the clock, and Cameroon replied by sending on Samuel Eto'o for Pius Ndiefi.
The previous day, Eto'o scored two goals to help Real Mallorca win the Spanish Cup final and then flew to Paris.
Eto'o almost got on the scoresheet within a few minutes but he miscued his short-range tap-in after Thimothee Atouba had made a run down the left wing.
Modeste Mbami tested Barthez with a dipping long-range shot which the French goalie tipped over the bar.
At the other end there was little happening except for an occasional half-chance for Henry and Ludovic Giuly's thundering shot in the 77th minute.
* Cameroon: Idris Kameni; Thimothee Atouba, Rigobert Song, Geremi, Lucien Mettomo; Jean Joel Perrier Doumbe, Modeste Mbami; Valery Mezague, Mohamadou Idrissou, Eric Djemba Djemba, Pius Ndiefi
* France: Fabien Barthez; Bixente Lizarazu, William Gallas, Marcel Desailly, Willy Sagnol (Lilian Thuram 74th); Olivier Dacourt (Oliver Kapo 88th), Ludovic Giuly, Sylvain Wiltord (Robert Pires 64th), Benoit Pedretti; Thierry Henry, Djibril Cisse
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