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WC Qualification Europe

  • September 10, 2013
  • • 3:00 PM
  • • Stadyen Central'ny, Homel' (Gomel)
  • Referee: D. Orsato
  • • Attendance: 12203

Belarus 2-4 France: Ribery stars as Bleus end barren spell in style

Didier Deschamps' men went behind twice away from home, but two strikes from the Bayern star and a goal apiece from Samir Nasri and Paul Pogba secured three points.

France ended its recent barren spell in style by beating Belarus 4-2 on Tuesday, despite going behind twice.

Franck Ribery hit for two equalizers after Egor Filipenko and Timofei Kalachev had each edged the home side ahead. Samir Nasri and Paul Pogba then added the extras to guarantee France at least a place in the FIFA World Cup qualifying playoffs and move Les Bleus level on points with group-leading Spain, having played a game more than the world champion.

Belarus had the first chance of the match courtesy of Sergey Balanovich after eight minutes, but he could only drag his effort wide of Hugo Lloris' far post. France, meanwhile, had not scored or won in its last five games going into the clash in Gomel, and it struggled to create chances of note in the first half, as the hosts enjoyed the better of the possession.

The home side was rewarded for its play after 32 minutes when Filipenko headed home thanks to a Lloris error. The defender headed down from a corner with the Tottenham goalkeeper failing to keep out the effort.

While France looked to hit back before halftime, the hosts stood firm to lead at the break, but two minutes into the second half France was level after Olivier Giroud played in Ribery, who was then brought down by Belarus' goalkeeper Sergei Veremko in the penalty area.

Ribery sent Veremko the wrong way from the spot, coolly placing the ball to his left to score France's first goal since March and bring the visitors level.

France may have improved in the minutes after, but Belarus was quickly ahead again, with Lloris at fault once more. Kalachev struck a fairly routine effort from just outside the area after 57 minutes that beat the Frenchman at his near post.

Ribery, who gained two assists and a goal in the reverse fixture, brought France level again seven minutes later. Europe's recently crowned best player latched onto a cross from Mathieu Valbuena from the right to tap home at the far post.

France went ahead for the first time in the match after 70 minutes through substitute Nasri. The Manchester City midfielder drove a right-footed effort through a crowd of Belarusian defenders to beat Vermenko and edge his side ahead.

Two minutes later, France had the points sealed when Pogba capitalized on a loose ball in the box to poke home his first international goal.