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WC Qualification Europe

  • October 16, 2013
  • • 03:00
  • • Stade de France, Paris
  • Referee: M. Koukoulakis
  • • Attendance: 70156
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France - Finland Preview: Les Bleus hoping for unlikely first-place finish

France - Finland Preview: Les Bleus hoping for unlikely first-place finish

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Didier Deschamps's team need a minor miracle to overtake Spain at the top of Group I but, after an emphatic victory against Australia, have plenty of momentum to take into Paris

France head into their final qualifier with Finland knowing that they are unlikely to secure automatic passage to World Cup 2014.

With a three-point gap separating them from Group I leaders Spain, Didier Deschamps's men need not only a win on Tuesday in order to top the group but also for Georgia to inflict a first defeat on La Roja in World Cup qualification since March 1993.

Yet even that could still not be enough for France, who also require a four-goal swing in goal difference to ensure their place at next year's tournament in Brazil.

However, although France look destined to finish second, Deschamps's outfit will be eager to gain momentum ahead of a prospective play-off.

Les Bleus hammered Australia 6-0 in a friendly on Friday and will be confident of clinching victory against a Finland side that have never before beaten them.

Striker Olivier Giroud goes into the game on the back of a double against Australia, while Karim Benzema will be out to find the net again after ending a 16-month goal drought for his country in the same game.

However, Finland - who have already been eliminated from World Cup contention - should provide stern opposition at the Stade de France, having tasted defeat in just two of their last 11 outings.

A goal from Roman Eremenko gave Mixu Paatelainen's men a 1-0 win against Georgia on Friday but they will need to be more clinical in front of goal if they are to end their unsuccessful campaign on a high.

Finland have scored just five goals in qualification, with midfielder Kasper Hamalainen and striker Teemu Pukki, who have scored two each, the main threats.

Paatelainen's side have lost twice in qualifying despite their poor record in front of goal and gained an impressive result back in March when they held Spain to a 1-1 draw.

The visitors have conceded six goals in their seven qualifiers and will need to maintain their defensive strength if they are to end their wait for a win over a team that has scored 10 goals in their last two matches.

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Last Five Matches
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Available Squads
-Niki MaenpaaGoalkeeper
-Kari ArkivouDefender
2Petri PasanenDefender
5Veli LampiStriker
-Alexander RingMidfielder
21Kasper HamalainenMidfielder
-Markus HalstiDefender
-Perparim HetemajMidfielder
7Roman EremenkoMidfielder
-Teemu TainioMidfielder
-Teemu PukkiStriker
-Henri SillanpaaGoalkeeper
-Lucas HradeckyGoalkeeper
-Jukka RaitalaDefender
-Joona ToivioDefender
-Mikko Sumusalo
-Erfan ZeneliMidfielder
-Sakari MattilaMidfielder
-Toni KohlemainenMidfielder
-Riku RiskiMidfielder
-Timo FuruholmStriker

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