France - Belarus Preview: Deschamps' men out for revenge after shock defeat of two years ago
The 1998 world champions face the Eastern Europeans in Group I of World Cup qualifying, with the visitors hoping to emulate their 1-0 win in Paris exactly two years ago
By Mohammed Ali
Reveilliere, Sakho, Yanga-Mbiwa, Evra
Capoue/Valbuena, Cabaye, Mavuba,
Menez, Benzema, Ribery
Shitov, Polyakov, Verk'tsov, Mar'vich
Putsila, Kislyak, Tsiharow, Kulchiy
France coach Didier Deschamps will be without Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby, after the 26-year-old starred and scored in Friday's 1-0 win over Finland.
Diaby, who has just returned from an injury-plagued season in north London is reportedly suffering from muscular discomfort, after the impressive performance at the Olympic Stadium. Etienne Capoue and Blaise Matuidi were tipped as replacements, though Deschamps is likely to give a start to the more advanced Mathieu Valbuena on the right side of midfield.
Nevertheless, the former Marseille boss could ring the changes, with Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny, Adil Rami and Christophe Jallet in line for a starting berth.
Giroud was omitted from Friday's squad due to a minor knock, but trained throughout the weekend, and is fit for contention. Gael Clichy did not train on Sunday.
Belarus coach Georgy Kondratiev is without four first-choice players for the trip to Paris, with the visitors arriving on the back of a 1-0 defeat to Georgia in Tbilisi.
Pavel Nekhaitchik, Maksim Bordatchev (both thigh) Yan Tigorev (tibia) are all sidelined, with Kondratiev set to field a weakened midfield side.
Sergei Kornilenko will lead the side, with Renan Bressan of BATE Borisov labelled as the visitors' key player. Midfielder Syarhey Kislyak scored the winner as Belarus won at the Stade de France two years ago in the first match of Euro 2012 qualifying.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- France sit atop of Group I along with Georgia following their 1-0 win over Finland.
- The two sides' last encounter in Paris ended in a shock 1-0 victory for Belarus, during Euro 2012 qualifying.
- Didier Deschamps' side have never beaten Belarus in two attempts.
- Belarus commenced World Cup qualifying with a disappointing 1-0 defeat away to Georgia.
- The Eastern European side are still yet to taste defeat against the French, drawing 1-1 in Minsk in June 2011.
- Belarus are ranked 76th in the world by Fifa, moving up one place from the previous month.
- Yan Tsiharow is in line to make his 25th appearance for the national team.
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Top 3 Predictions
France 2-0 Belarus
- 29.77 %
France 3-0 Belarus
- 14.72 %
France 2-1 Belarus
- 9.7 %
|World Cup 2014 (Europe) (WCQE)||Sep 11, 2013||Belarus 2 - France 4|
|World Cup 2014 (Europe) (WCQE)||Sep 12, 2012||France 3 - Belarus 1|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Jun 4, 2011||Belarus 1 - France 1|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Sep 4, 2010||France 0 - Belarus 1|
|Nov 20, 2013||France 3 - Ukraine 0||WCQE|
|Nov 16, 2013||Ukraine 2 - France 0||WCQE|
|Oct 16, 2013||France 3 - Finland 0||WCQE|
|Oct 12, 2013||France 6 - Australia 0||FR|
|Sep 11, 2013||Belarus 2 - France 4||WCQE|
|8||Rio Antonio Mavuba||Midfielder|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed