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WC Qualification Europe
September 11, 2012
• 3:00 PM
• Stade de France, Paris
Referee: H. Gocek
• Attendance: 52552
E. Capoue 50'
C. Jallet 69'
F. Ribéry 80'
A. Putsila 72'
Etienne Capoue and Christophe Jallet both registering their first international goals, the latter from a wondrous strike from an acute angle. That's it from me tonight, join me for Ligue 1 action on Friday as PSG take on Toulouse.
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME: France 3-1 Belarus - a much better second half from the hosts has sealed a good win at home, in their first ever victory over Belarus, at their third attempt. Deschamps will be pleased, with their next qualification game coming against world champions Spain.
90' + 2'
Sakho goes down after Kornilenko is perhaps a little too eager to retrieve the ball. Almost safe to say, that barring one of the biggest shocks in football, Belarus' defeat tonight coupled with their loss in Georgia on Friday, has seen their World Cup dream come to an end. Maybe.
90' + 1'
Ribery departs to a standing ovation after being substituted. Minimum of three added minutes at the end of this game.
Reliably informed that Yanga-Mbiwa's booking for Belarus' penalty was his third consecutive one for France, and incurs a suspension in their next qualifying game - against Spain.
Edging closer to full-time in an enjoyable match at the Stade de France. Valbuena picks out Matuidi, before Capoue is hustled off the ball by Kislyak. Can the visitors get at least a second? Lloris takes the ball easily
Georgy Kondratiev's men have faded since they scored the penalty, and they've been rightly punished by the French. A corner from Valbuena deceives the entire back-line, but Matuidi heads over the bar.
Ribery's been brilliant tonight. The Bayern man was often criticized for not showing his club form for his country, but again he carves an opening with pace on the wing, and a cross in towards Benzema before Martynovich denies him.
What a difference 45 minutes makes in football. France were booed off at half-time, with the stadium now engulfed in chants of "Allez, allez, allez". Deschamps' men dominant.
That's Benzema's second assist in four days for les Bleus. He may not be scoring, but hey, it's the teamwork that counts. Deschamps has almost achieved what predecessor Laurent Blanc failed to do twice - beat Belarus.
GOOAAL!! France make it 3-1! Well deserved goal from Franck Ribery who has been very impressive on the wings this evening. Lovely pass from Benzema as Ribery positions himself before chipping over Veremko.
Valbuena buckles under the pressure of Radkov, bringing to an end a quick-fire move from the hosts. Sakho slightly hurt with a quick clearance at the other end.
Some smoke emanating from the lower tier (possibly from the Belarus fans) inside the Stade de France. Blaise Matuidi on for Yohan Cabaye. Quarter of an hour left.
It's all gone crazy in Paris as Belarus search for their equaliser, wth goalscorer Putsila firing over the bar from a half-volley. France were cruising just moments ago, but have allowed the eastern Europeans a chance back into the game.
Penalty saveHugo Lloris
Missed PenaltySergey Kornilenko
GOAL! Anton Putilo puts it in, but he misses from the penalty as it is saved by Lloris. From the tap-in, the French were slow, and the midfielder took his second opportunity.
Yellow CardMapou Yanga-Mbiwa
PENALTY TO BELARUS - Yanga-Mbiwa booked for challenge on Putsila
GOAL! FRANCE 2-0 BELARUS! OUTRAGEOUS GOAL FROM Christophe Jallet! He never meant it, but it was a sweet strike nonetheless! What a moment for the PSG captain who also gets his first international goal.
It was a sweet strike by Jallet who was hoping to locate a team-mate. The cross, as it was meant, leaves the boot and is fired straight over Veremko and in off the bar. A brilliant goal.
Bit of a break in play here as Verkhovtsov requires medical attention after blood pours from his head after an aerial challenge. He should be OK though.
BENZEMA! Should've taken the chance, as France are further guilty of profligate finishing. Lovely lofted ball in towards the Madrid man, but a poor touch and a slip scuppers his move.
Kislyak attempts to dispatch a weighted pass to Sergei Kornilenko, who has been somewhat isolated this evening. At the other end, Ribery cuts in from the wing, but can't locate a team-mate.
As it stands, it would be France who head the group with two wins out of two. Spain in second with their 1-0 over Georgia who would close out the top three places. 28 minutes for Belarus to change that however.
Substitution: Olivier Giroud is off for Marseille's Mathieu Valbuena, with the Arsenal striker slightly booed off the field.
Kulchiy and Putsila combine to start a decent move as Polyakov gets a throw-in off a deflection from Patrice Evra. France readying their first substitution.
Belarus pressing in midfield, as Bardachov takes possession from Radkov in midfield. The visitors content with keeping the ball away from the hosts at the minute as they weigh up potential options.
Kislyak finds Kulchiy just on the edge of the box with a weighted pass, before the latter goes to ground after a decent challenge from Yanga-Mbiwa. France in the ascendancy, making up for their catalogue of misses in the first half.
Kondratiev's side have looked rather off the pace in the last few moments, leading upto the opening goal. Despite Kulchiy and Dragun's chances, they've instead entered into a lull which has helped France take the lead.
It's a great goal from a French perspective, but the goalkeeper should've saved that in all honesty. Capoue's second international appearance brings about a goal, and the French fans are in full voice in Paris.
GOAL! ETIENNE CAPOUE WITH HIS FIRST INTERNATIONAL GOAL! Wonderful run by Ribery who finds the Toulouse man in space with a low cross, and its an easy tap in via Veremko's outstretched glove.
KULCHIY! It's Belarus on top now, and shades of their shock victory in 2010 come to mind. It was all France before the break, but two massive chances so far, with substitute Aleksandr Kulchiy firing wide.
DRAGUN! Could've been a shock goal there! Their first gilt-edged chance, and it's a wonderful save from Lloris after Dragun crept in behind Jallet, and powered a shot which the Tottenham goalkeeper was equal too. Hearts in mouths moment.
More of a composed start to the half from Kondratiev's side. They've kept the ball on the ground, passing calmly in defence, hoping to draw out the French.
Underway in the second half, with Kulchiy replacing Renan Bressan during half-time.
Players out to start this second half. What type of game can we see here? I'm sticking with my prediction of 2-0. Substitution meanwhile, more on that as we get it.
Half-time in Paris, and it's 0-0. Didier Deschamps' men have been by far the dominant force, but have failed to take the chances that have come their way. Olivier Giroud, Mamadou Sakho (twice) and Yohan Cabaye all guilty of profligate finishing in the first half. The hosts should really have been at least three or four up at the break. Belarus started sluggishly, but have improved since the half progressed. France should be wary of the threat they impose, given the events of two years ago.
45' + 1'
A few boos at the Stade de France would you believe!
45' + 1'
HALF-TIME: France 0-0 Belarus
Ribery close, despite some quick feet as his powerful attempt is charged down by Martynovich. It's ONE minute of added time here in Paris.
A rare moment in attack for Belarus who opt to keep possesison through Bressan and Bardachov on the left side. Putsila emerges in the penalty box, but Yanga-Mbiwa nullifies the threat quickly.
Good surge forward by Patrice Evra, who cuts in on his left after a decent run from deep in defence. Lays it off for Franck Ribery who gallops inside, before firing wide.
Christophe Jallet has been impressive in this half so far. Not much to defensively, but has been a real asset on the right side so far. Constantly linking up with Cabaye and Benzema.
SAKHO! How has he not scored again?! Another peach of a delivery from Cabaye, and the PSG defender is in the right place again, with a powerful header towards Veremko, who has both legs inside the goal, and punches out!
BENZEMA! Great strike, but aided by a heavy deflection off the wall. Flashes an inch wide of Veremko's right post, and out for a corner.
UEFA president and former French international Michel Platini spotted in the crowds. Benzema stands over a free-kick from 30 yards out.....
Mavuba goes on a sparkling run, beating two defenders in his wake before Polyakov stops him in his track. Jallet and Cabaye combine on the right, but cannot find Etienne Capoue on the far side.
Belarus venturing in their first notable attack of the game, though an offside call limits their progress. At the other end, Martynovich clears a dangerous ball in from Benzema.
Dimitry Verkhovtsov earns the night's first yellow card after a rash challenge. Pleads his innocence to the referee, but it's quashed straight away. Sakho concedes a corner at the other end after Kislyak's speculative shot is blocked.
Yellow CardDmitri Verkhovtsov
Close once more, as France fill up the final third in numbers. Benzema's pass intended for Giroud goes slightly behind the Arsenal man, before the 25-year-old's header from Jallet's cross rises just over the crossbar.
A thoroughly enjoyable first 28 minutes at the Stade de France, with Didier Deschamps' side far more enterprising than they were against Finland. Giroud, Sakho and Cabaye have had great chances, but profligate finishing means the game is still 0-0.
Whilst Veremko receives some medical attention, it's a full-time score in Tbilisi as Spain secure a late win over Georgia.
Ouch, that's got to hurt. A mazy run from Ribery on the wing finds Giroud, but Veremko gets to the ball first and is involved in a collision with the Arsenal no.9, who is sent flying.
Cabaye darts in past Radkov in midfield, and lays on a through ball towards Giroud, who has a lazy touch to divert it wide. Boos ring from the home faithful.
Sublime skill from Benzema who cuts in past two Belarusian defenders on the right, but his low cross in intended for Giroud in the centre is blocked by Bordachov.
A combination of Radkov and Martynovich almost sees Ribery steal in. Georgy Kondratiev's men have started this match sluggishly, and nervously.
CABAYE! How close was it to the first goal? Smooth through-ball into the path of the Newcastle midfielder, but his tame touch under pressure from Verkhovtsov sees it angle wide away from goal.
Unsurprisingly, the hosts have the lions share of possession this evening, as a corner is once more drifted in, but Sakho cannot get a clear head on it under pressure from Dragun.
Goalflash in tonight's other Group I game. Spain have taken a 1-0 lead late on against Georgia, thanks to Roberto Soldado.
Free-kick awarded to Belarus after an infringement. 25 yards out, and it's Brazilian-born Renan Bressan of BATE that's over it. Good swing on it, but it's an easy catch for Lloris.
Another powerful surge from Jallet on the right side of midfield, and his first-time cross flies over Giroud, after a slight push by Radkov, with Cabaye firing from distance in the end, which flashes wide.
GIROUD! GREAT SAVE VEREMKO! Wonderful burst from Ribery on the wing, and his cross picks out the Arsenal striker who heads towards goal, with Veremko parrying the ball away. Signal of intent.
Lovely start from Didier Deschamps' side in Paris. They looked rather lethargic against Finland, but they've atoned for that inside ten minutes here with three decent chances already. Belarus under the cosh at the minute.
SAKHO! Another wonderful delivery from Yohan Cabaye, and the Paris Saint-Germain defender's powerful header is saved by Veremko on the goal-line.
Half-chance for Olivier Giroud as he bursts free on the left side of the penalty box. It takes the smallest of touches off Verkhovtsov, which denies the Arsenal man progress. Corner
It was Polyakov's poor clearance off the shin that almost gave France the lead from Cabaye's corner. Belarus failing to even move past the half-way line at this point. Bright start.
CABAYE! His corner is driven in well, and taken two attempts to be cleared by the Belarusian defence. Mavuba fails to latch onto the loose ball as it takes a heavy spin on the turf.
It's a blistering start from France as they surge forward in numbers. Beautiful ball from Giroud towards Ribery on the wing, but the winger is edged out by Martynovich. Corner to the hosts
Oooh! Ribery goes down after a challenge from Dmitry Verkhovtsov, but the referee gives nothing. The 35 year old Turkish referee waves play on. Good decision, the Bayern man was looking for it.
Lofted ball from deep finds Olivier Giroud in space, but the referee's whistle curtails development of that move. Good start from Les Bleus.
Early movements from Mavuba and Jallet, whose speculative pass off the right side of midfield being blocked
UNDERWAY! Referee Huseyin Gocek gets this World Cup qualifier started. Belarus in their white away strip, France attacking from left to right
Five minutes until the start of the match in the French capital. Keep those predictions coming in!
TEAM NEWS: Three changes in the France line-up with Olivier Giroud, Etienne Capoue and Christophe Jallet replacing Abou Diaby, Jeremy Menez and Anthony Reveillere from the side that beat Finland.
BELARUS XI: (4-2-3-1): Veremko - Polyakov, Martinovitch, Verkhovtsov, Bordachev - Radkov, Kislyak - Dragun, Bressan, Putilo - Kornilenko.
FRANCE XI: (4-3-3) Lloris - Jallet, Yanga-Mbiwa, Sakho, Evra - Capoue, Mavuba, Cabaye - Ribéry, Giroud, Benzema
CONFIRMED TEAM LINE-UPS:
A further look at tonight's opponents. Ranked 76th in the world, Belarus have lost their last three World Cup qualifiers (two in the 2010 cycle, in addition to the Georgia defeat). However, they have only lost one of their last five international matches. Renan Bressan of BATE Borisov is the key man for the national side, although he was born in Brazil. Make of that what you will.
Deschamps is without a number of players through injury and lack of fitness. The most pressing concern is of Abou Diaby, who was revealed to have suffered from muscular discomfort, with the national side and Arsenal keen to keep him fit with games against Southampton and Montpellier on the horizon for the Gunners. Etienne Capoue or Mathieu Valbuena have been tipped to replace him in the side. Similarly, Belarus have a number of injury worries in midfield, with upto FOUR first-choice players missing.
However, Belarus do have some history on their side. The two sides had never met in international competition prior to 2010. But rewind to September of that year. Laurent Blanc had just taken over, and would face the Belarusians in his first competitive match in charge. The Eastern European side secured a shock 1-0 victory at this very stadium, sending waves across European football thanks to Sergei Kislyak's winning strike. In fact, the return in Minsk saw Belarus hold France to a limp 1-1 draw. More of the same tonight please.
In contrast, Belarus, who briefly ran Bosnia-Herzegovina and France themselves close in Euro 2012 qualifying started their World Cup dream badly, losing 1-0 to Georgia in Tbilisi. Georgey Kondratiev's side need a positive result this evening, especially in a group containing defending World and European champions Spain.
France opened their 2014 World Cup campaign at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, with a positive, yet somewhat lethargic 1-0 win over Finland on Friday evening. Abou Diaby scored the goal after great work from Karim Benzema, though the Frenchmen laboured much in the second half to grind out a result in Didier Deschamps' first win as coach of the national team.
Let me introduce myself first, my name is Mohammed Ali, and I'll be guiding you through all the action over the next 90 or so minutes. Get involved as always on Twitter - send me your messages @mohammedali_93, or via the comments section at the bottom of the page. Understood? Let's move on.
Good evening, and welcome to Goal.com's coverage of the second round of European qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Tonight's live commentary comes from the Stade de France in Paris as Belarus take on 1998 champions and 2006 finalists France in Group I. Confirmed team-news shortly.
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