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WC Qualification Europe

  • 22 March 2013
  • • 20:00
  • • Stade de France, Paris
  • Referee: I. Bebek
  • • Attendance: 71147

France - Georgia Preview: Deschamps' men aim to warm up for Spain with win

France - Georgia Preview: Deschamps' men aim to warm up for Spain with win


Les Bleus might've lost their first game of the calendar year, but they hope to continue where they left off in Group I against Ketsbaia's side ahead of the visit of the champions


Jallet, Koscielny, Sakho, Evra
Valbuena, Matuidi, Cabaye, Ribery
Benzema, Giroud

Kashia, Amisulashvili, Khizanishvili
Okriashvili, Targamadze
Kankava, Daushvili, Grigalashvili
Ananidze, Devdariani

France coach Didier Deschamps is set to tinker with his side against Georgia on Friday evening, ahead of the potential group decider against world champions Spain in Paris next week.

The former Marseille boss hinted earlier in the week he may try a 4-4-2 formation, with Karim Benzema and Arsenal's Olivier Giroud both starting against the Eastern European outfit.

With Mathieu Debuchy pulling out of the squad after limping off in Newcastle's game against Wigan on Sunday, Deschamps has called upon a familiar face in the form of Rod Fanni. The Marseille defender could be in line for a start should Paris Saint-Germain's Christophe Jallet fail to make the grade.

Young talents Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane are set to be benched, with Deschamps preferring the tried and tested duo of Laurent Koscielny and Mamadou Sakho in defence.

Georgia coach Temuri Ketsbaia is also without a few players due to injury. Defender Akaki Khubutia failed to join the side to train on Wednesday at Stade Charlety due to travel issues, while Zurab Khizanishvili and Jano Ananidze will be known faces to many European football aficionados.

  • France have won two out of their three World Cup qualifiers in the 2014 cycle, dropping points only to Spain.

  • Les Bleus lost their last fixture to Germany, in an international friendly in February.

  • The two nations have only met twice before, in qualification for Euro 2008. France won 1-0 in Paris, before a 3-0 win in Tbilisi (pictured right).
  • Georgia sit in third place in Group I of World Cup qualifying. A win against France would take them level on points.
  • The Eastern European side's win over Albania last month was their first in five games.
  • Georgia occupy 69th position in the world rankings, while Levan Kobiashvili heads the all-time Georgia caps tally with 100.


Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
World Cup Qualification 2014 (Europe) ‎(WCQE)‎ 6 Sep 2013 Georgia 0 - France 0
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World Cup Qualification 2014 (Europe) ‎(WCQE)‎ 22 Mar 2013 France 3 - Georgia 1
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Euro 2012 ‎(EC)‎ 6 Jun 2007 France 1 - Georgia 0
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Euro 2012 ‎(EC)‎ 2 Sep 2006 Georgia 0 - France 3
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Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
Players to Watch
Mathieu Valbuena
Mathieu Valbuena
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 8
Games Goals YC RC
10 1 0 0
The Marseille star has blossomed only intermittently on the international stage, but after proving himself worthy under his former club boss, the 27-year-old is only now reaping the rewards. A superb performance against Joachim Low's side last month failed to stop defeat, and should he be used from the outset in Paris on Friday, Valbuena is likely to make the same impact. Pacy, strong, despite his small stature, as well as abundant creativity - the winger could prove to be France's not-so-secret weapon.
Zurab Khizanishvili
Zurab Khizanishvili
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 6
Games Goals YC RC
5 0 1 0
Well known to Premier League and Scottish fans, Khizanishvili remains a stalwart at the back for his country, approaching 90 caps. Whereas his stay on the British Isles was mixed with success north of the border marred by mediocrity in England, the 32-year-old, now at Kayserispor in Turkey, still appears to perform admirably with a number of competent displays. His tackling has always been sharp, with positional sense a great asset. Could he contribute to a shock this weekend?
While Deschamps' side faltered in last month's friendly against Germany, there were plenty of positives, not least what the likes of Mathieu Valbuena and Blaise Matuidi bring to the international table. Georgia will put up resistance, and are a tough side, as Spain almost found out to their cost but the hosts should really wrap this one up.
Editor's Prediction
France 3

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