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3 vs 1
Played
March 22, 2013 4:00 PM EDT
Stade de France — Paris
Referee:‬ I. Bebek‎
Attendance:‬ 71147‎
 
Top of the Match
Mathieu Valbuena
Mathieu Valbuena
France
Mathieu Valbuena
Mathieu Valbuena
France
Flop of the Match
Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema
France
Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema
France

France 3-1 Georgia: Valbuena the star of the show as les Bleus edge clear in Group I

The Marseille man scored a fine goal and added two assists in a virtuoso display as Didier Deschamps' men ran out comfortable winners in Paris

By Robin Bairner

France took control of UEFA World Cup qualifying Group I as it punished Spain’s surprise slip against Finland by beating Georgia 3-1 at Stade de France to claim a two-point lead of the pool.

Goals from Olivier Giroud and the inspired Mathieu Valbuena immediately either side of halftime were essential for Didier Deschamps’ side, which struggled to break obstinate opponents for long periods of the opening 45 minutes. Franck Ribery added a fine third for les Bleus before Aleksandr Kobakhidze pounced to score a consolation.

Marseille star Valbuena was to the fore of many of the hosts’ best moves, and it was his free kick that produced the opening goal for Giroud in first-half stoppage-time. His delivery was met by a textbook header from the Arsenal forward that picked out the corner of the net.

It took only moments after the restart for the home side to add to its tally. Giroud and Ribery combined down the left to set up Valbuena to smash home a terrific shot into the roof of the goal.

Quarter of an hour later it was Ribery’s turn to score from a Valbuena pass. The Marseille man showed his confidence with a superb crossfield ball that was fired in at the near post by his former teammate at Stade Velodrome, who easily beat Zurab Khizanishvili.

When Valbuena was withdrawn to be rested for Tuesday’s match against Spain, France allowed its concentration to slip, and Kobakhidze clinically shot home after a lapse from Mamadou Sakho following a Ucha Lobjanidze cross.

Although Ribery’s fine solo run on six minutes ended with the winger clipping the top of the crossbar, France would be stifled impressively for much of the first half.

Karim Benzema would be particularly profligate, as he scuffed a near post chance wide after fine work for Gael Clichy. The Real Madrid man looked shorn of confidence throughout, and his failure to beat Giorgi Loria when clean through soon after France’s second typified another poor outing for the national side.

Giroud was also guilty of profligacy early on, as he lofted over after another pinpoint pass from the ubiquitous Valbuena.

But it was not completely one-way traffic, and had Hugo Lloris not saved well from Aleksandr Amisulashvili or Kobakhidze when the game was still scoreless then the outcome may have been very different.

Nevertheless, Deschamps can feel pleased his side has taken control of their section ahead of Tuesday’s crunch encounter against Spain. Win that and France will be well on its way to Brazil 2014.

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France

25
Hugo Lloris
Goalkeeper
4.00
26
3.50
22
Gael Clichy
Defender
3.00
17
Mamadou Sakho
Defender
3.00
2
Raphaël Varane
Defender
3.50
14
Blaise Matuidi
Midfielder
67′ 81′
3.50
7
Franck Ribéry
Midfielder
47′ 61′ 78′
3.50
28
Mathieu Valbuena
Midfielder
46′ 47′ 61′ 66′
4.00
6
Paul Pogba
Midfielder
3.50
9
Karim Benzema
Striker
2.50
12
3.50

Georgia

3.00
-
Giorgi Loria
Goalkeeper
3.00
15
2.50
-
2.50
37
2.50
-
3.00
-
3.50
-
2.50
30
2.50
27
Zhano Ananidze
Midfielder
46′
2.50
-
2.00
-

Substitutes

-
 - 
30
Steve Mandanda
Goalkeeper
 - 
6
 - 
3
 - 
24
Rod Fanni
Defender
 - 
7
Jérémy Menez
Midfielder
78′
 - 
21
 - 
7
Moussa Sissoko
Midfielder
67′ 81′
3.00
6
Yohan Cabaye
Midfielder
 - 
18
 - 
7
 - 
14
Loïc Remy
Striker
66′
2.50

Substitutes

 - 
29
 - 
-
 - 
-
 - 
-
2.00
67
 - 
-
 - 
-
 - 
-
Irakli Dzaria
Midfielder
2.00
-
2.50
30
Lewan Kenia
Midfielder
46′
 - 
-
 - 
9

Coach/Manager

-
 - 

Coach/Manager

 - 
-
 
  • Goal
  • Own Goal
  • Penalty
  • Penalty Missed
  • Yellow Card
  • Assist
  • Penalty Save
  • Penalty Shootout Goal
  • Penalty Shootout Miss
  • Yellow Card / Red Card
  • Red Card
  • Substitution IN
  • Substitution OUT
  • Injury
  • Goal.com Rating
  • Goal.com Man of the Match
  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
  • Top & Flop Global Ranking
  • Fans' Man of the Match
  • Fans' Flop of the Match
Results
Group A Matchday 5
Times In EDT
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Robin van Persie Robin van Persie
Striker
Man United
11 2
Edin Dzeko Edin Dzeko
Striker
Man City
10 0
Mesut Özil Mesut Özil
Midfielder
Arsenal
8 3
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Striker
Paris St. Germain (PSG)
8 1
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid
8 0