World Cup Qualifying Preview: France - Belarus
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
Diaby, Cabaye, Mavuba,
Menez, Benzema, Ribery
Zhavnerchik, Polyakov, Verk'tsov, Mar'vich
Putsila, Kislyak, Nekhaychik, Kulchiy
France coach Didier Deschamps is sweating on the fitness of 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 will not want to be risked by his club, after the impressive performance at the Olympic Stadium. Nevertheless, the former Marseille boss could ring the changes, with Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny, Adil Rami and Blaise Matuidi 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 could also tinker with his side after the disappointment of the 1-0 defeat to Georgia in Tbilisi.
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 sits atop of Group I along with Georgia following a 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 has never defeated Belarus in two attempts.
- Belarus commenced World Cup qualifying with a disappointing 1-0 defeat away to Georgia.
- The Eastern European side is still yet to taste defeat against the French, drawing 1-1 in Minsk in June 2011.
- Belarus is 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.
Top 3 Predictions
France 2-0 Belarus
- 29.77 %
France 3-0 Belarus
- 14.72 %
France 2-1 Belarus
- 9.7 %
|WCQ 2014 (UEFA) (WCQE)||Sep 11, 2012||France 3 - Belarus 1|
|European Championship Qualification 2012 (EC)||Jun 3, 2011||Belarus 1 - France 1|
|European Championship Qualification 2012 (EC)||Sep 3, 2010||France 0 - Belarus 1|
|Mar 26, 2013||France 0 - Spain 1||WCQE|
|Mar 22, 2013||France 3 - Georgia 1||WCQE|
|Feb 6, 2013||France 1 - Germany 2||FR|
|Nov 14, 2012||Italy 1 - France 2||FR|
|Oct 16, 2012||Spain 1 - France 1||WCQE|
|-||Rio Antonio Mavuba|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed