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WC Qualification Europe

  • October 15, 2013
  • • 3:00 PM
  • • Stade de France, Paris
  • Referee: M. Koukoulakis
  • • Attendance: 70156

World Cup Qualifying Preview: France - Finland

World Cup Qualifying Preview: France - Finland


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

France heads into its final qualifier with Finland knowing that the team is unlikely to secure automatic passage to the 2014 World Cup.

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

But even that could still not be enough for France, which also requires a four-goal swing in goal difference to ensure its place at next year's tournament in Brazil.

However, although France looks destined to finish second, Deschamps' outfit will be eager to gain momentum ahead of a prospective playoff.

Les Bleus hammered Australia 6-0 in a friendly on Friday and will be confident of clinching victory against a Finland side that has 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 - which has already been eliminated from World Cup contention - should provide stern opposition at the Stade de France, having tasted defeat in just two of its last 11 outings.

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

Finland has scored just five goals in qualification, with midfielder Kasper Hamalainen and striker Teemu Pukki, who have scored two goals each, accounting for the majority of those strikes.

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

The visiting team has conceded six goals in its seven qualifiers and will need to maintain its defensive strength if it is to end its wait for a win over a team that has scored 10 goals in its last two matches.

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France FRA
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France FRA
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Finland FIN
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