SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Bloodied but not beaten, France won the men's team foil competition Friday night at the Sydney Games.

Patrice Lhotellier, who sustained a cut on the head that caused blood to run down his neck, Jean-Noel Ferrari and Brice Guyart all went 2-1 in their individual matches against China to capture the gold 45-44.

``It was the match of their life,'' French coach Patrice Menon said. ``They have totally mastered their art and they were so well-prepared.''

Italy beat Poland 45-38 for the bronze medal.

France took a 35-23 lead over Poland in the semifinal match only to see that lead cut to 42-38. France registered the final two points to close it out.

China, which defeated Italy in the semifinals, was an unlikely participant in the finals. After convincingly beating Russia in the quarterfinals, the Chinese earned a comfortable 45-32 victory over the Italian team.

The silver medal capped the career of Chinese fencer Ye Chong, who retired following the match.