Finland - France Preview: Deschamps' men commence road to Brazil boasting formidable record against hosts
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
By Mohammed Ali
Toivio, Pasanen, Moisander, Arkivou
Ring, R Eremenko, Sparv,
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.
Top 3 Predictions
Finland 0-2 France
- 15.93 %
Finland 1-2 France
- 9.71 %
Finland 1-3 France
- 9.71 %
|World Cup Qualification - Europe (WCQE)||16-Oct-2013||France 3 - Finland 0|
|World Cup Qualification - Europe (WCQE)||08-Sep-2012||Finland 0 - France 1|
|16-Nov-2013||Wales 1 - Finland 1||FR|
|31-Oct-2013||Mexico 4 - Finland 2||FR|
|16-Oct-2013||France 3 - Finland 0||WCQE|
|10-Sep-2013||Georgia 0 - Finland 1||WCQE|
|07-Sep-2013||Finland 0 - Spain 2||WCQE|
|-||Alexei Jr. Eremenko|
|-||Henrik Daniel Sjolund|
|8||Rio Antonio Mavuba||Midfielder|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed