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WC Qualification Europe

  • 7 September 2012
  • • 19:30
  • • Helsingin olympiastadion, Helsinki (Helsingfors)
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Finland - France Preview: Deschamps' men commence road to Brazil boasting formidable record against hosts

Finland - France Preview: Deschamps' men commence road to Brazil boasting formidable record against hosts

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The 1998 champions begin their quest for a second world title against Mixu Paatelainen's side aiming for a victory, though will be wary of Spain in a tricky Group I

  PROBABLE LINEUPS
FINLAND
 Finland
Hradecky
Toivio, Pasanen, Moisander, Arkivou

Ring, R Eremenko, Sparv,
A Eremenko
Pukki, Kuqi
FRANCE
France
Lloris
Reveilliere, Sakho, Yanga-Mbiwa, Evra
Diaby, Cabaye, Mavuba,
Menez, Benzema, Ribery



Mixu Paatelainen commences his first full qualifying campaign as coach of Finland, but will be wary of the enormous task ahead with the nation placed in Group I of qualifying, alongside 1998 and 2010 world champions France and Spain.

Notable faces and key players for the Nordic nation include Borussia Monchengladbach's Alexander Ring, in line for his 10th cap on Friday, alongside the Eremenko brothers of Rubin Kazan. The Eagles' Euro 2012 qualifying performance started badly, with three consecutive defeats.

Meanwhile, Didier Deschamps has a lengthy injury list to contend with ahead of his first competitive game in charge of his country, with the likes of Mathieu Debuchy and Bacary Sagna yet to maintain full fitness in the 2012-13 season.

The former Marseille boss confirmed on Thursday that Olivier Giroud will not play any part in Friday's encouter, with the possibility deemed too risky by the 43-year-old. Instead, France are likely to revert to a 4-3-3 with Karim Benzema flanked by Jeremy Menez and Franck Ribery.

Deschamps also revealed that his centre-back pairing would be Mamadou Sakho and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, with Laurent Koscielny still yet to start a game since the Euro 2012 exit to Spain in June.

Furthermore, Patrice Evra and Anthony Reveilliere are set to be preferred to both Gael Clichy and Christophe Jallet, whilst Abou Diaby is also in line for a starting berth, after an impressive start to his campaign.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Finland were unbeaten in their last four World Cup qualifiers, and have only lost one of their last five at home.
  • Nevertheless, the Nordic nation succumbed to defeat in their last two qualifying matches for Euro 2012, but beat Turkey 3-2 in May.
  • The national team are ranked 96th in the world by Fifa, their worst ever placing, after slipping down 24 positions - the second most of any nation in September.
  • Finland's last home game against France ended in a 1-0 defeat in an international friendly in 1998.
  • Didier Deschamps' reign as France coach began with a 0-0 draw against Uruguay.
  • Les Bleus are ranked 15th in the world, slipping a place in the latest list.
  • France have never lost against Finland in international encounters.
  • The Gallic nation last lost a qualifier two years ago this week, going down to Belarus at home in their first Euro 2012 encounter. They face Belarus on Tuesday.

Related

Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
World Cup Qualification 2014 (Europe) ‎(WCQE)‎ 15 Oct 2013 France 3 - Finland 0
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World Cup Qualification 2014 (Europe) ‎(WCQE)‎ 7 Sep 2012 Finland 0 - France 1
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
Players to Watch
Alexander Ring
Alexander Ring
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
8 0 1 0
The Borussia Monchengladbach player has already started the season well for the Bundesliga side, and will want to continue that form into his nation's qualifying campaign for the World Cup. Ring scored in the Champions League defeat to Dynamo Kiev last month, and has been touted as a future star of Finnish football. A comfortable player on the ball, Ring is able to instigate opportunities for the attackers, though will have to be wary of Rio Mavuba in what will be a packed midfield on Friday evening.
Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud
Position:
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Olivier Giroud has not exactly started the season as well as Arsenal's new signings Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski, but the Frenchman's positioning and chance creation in the Gunners' first couple of games have proved somewhat re-assuring. With the international break now on the agenda, the onus is on the former Montpellier striker to open his 2012-13 goalscoring account against Finland, and ignite a fruitful campaign up front. The nature of the opposition should ideally give Giroud the ideal platform to achieve that.
Prediction
France's strong qualifying campaign under Laurent Blanc spoke volumes and with 23 games unbeaten until their Euro 2012 exit it proved a major testament to the current squad. It is Deschamps' job to emulate that, and with Spain lurking in their group, (who will also not feature this weekend), a slip-up against Finland would already have them on the back foot. Nevertheless, a comfortable victory for France should be on the cards.
Editor's Prediction
France 2

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