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France - Uruguay Preview: Hosts commence Deschamps era with tough test against South Americans
With a new coach at the helm, Les Bleus kick off preparations for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers with a tricky examination against the Copa America holders
By Mohammed Ali
Debuchy, Sakho, Yanga-Mbiwa, Evra
Valbuena, Martin, Ribery
Coates, Lugano, Godin
Pereira, Perez, Gargano, Gonzalez
France coach Didier Deschamps begins his tenure in charge of the national team without a number of players who featured at Euro 2012. The four players who were summoned to a disciplinary hearing in Paris last month - Jeremy Menez, Yann M'Vila, Hatem Ben Arfa and Samir Nasri - have been left out, with Nasri and Menez serving three and one match bans respectively.
Four players are in line to make their Bleus debut in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. Among them, Toulouse's Etienne Capoue, Real Madrid's Raphael Varane, Paris Saint-Germain captain Christophe Jallet and Montpellier's Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, the latter of whom was cut from the Euro 2012 preliminary squad.
Hugo Lloris missed Lyon's 1-0 win over Rennes on Saturday due to a virus, meaning Deschamps is likely to call on his former Marseille captain Steve Mandanda as a replacement. Maxime Gonalons and Mamadou Sakho are tipped for long-awaited starts, with Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud vying for a place in attack.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez returns from a disappointing few weeks at the Olympic Games with the Under-23 side. However, the Celeste will be without key striking duo Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, who have been left out after their duties in London, along with Diego Fernandez.
Veteran striker Sebastian Abreu is in line for his 70th cap in Le Havre on Wednesday, while at the back, PSG's Diego Lugano should prove to be a familiar face for many French football fans.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Didier Deschamps returns to the France national team as manager, having captained his nation to World Cup and European Championship glory in 1998 and 2000.
- France are currently 14th in the Fifa World Ranking, below the likes of Greece, Denmark and Russia.
- Les Bleus were held to a 0-0 draw with Uruguay in their opening game at the 2010 World Cup, before exiting at the group stage.
- France were defeated twice at Euro 2012, their only setbacks since September 2010.
- Uruguay are ranked fourth in the world, and are unbeaten in their last five competitive games.
- Oscar Tabarez's side sit second in the Conmebol World Cup qualifying table, with a game in hand.
- They are unbeaten in encounters with their European opponents; their last victory however, came at the 1966 World Cup.
- The last three matches between France and Uruguay have ended 0-0.
- Diego Perez is set to become the joint-second most capped player in his nation's history, should he feature in Le Havre on Wednesday.
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Top 3 Predictions
France 2-1 Uruguay
- 13.95 %
France 1-2 Uruguay
- 12.93 %
France 2-0 Uruguay
- 9.52 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||Aug 15, 2012||France 0 - Uruguay 0|
|World Cup (WC)||Jun 11, 2010||Uruguay 0 - France 0|
|International Friendlies (FR)||Nov 19, 2008||France 0 - Uruguay 0|
|Mar 26, 2013||France 0 - Spain 1||WCQ|
|Mar 22, 2013||France 3 - Georgia 1||WCQ|
|Feb 6, 2013||France 1 - Germany 2||FR|
|Nov 14, 2012||Italy 1 - France 2||FR|
|Oct 16, 2012||Spain 1 - France 1||WCQ|
|-||Rio Antonio Mavuba|
|1||Néstor Muslera Micol||Goalkeeper|
|3||Diego Godín Leal||Defender|
|10||Diego Forlan Corazo||Striker|
|21||Sebastián Fernández Miglierina||Striker|
The Lille right-back has endured a tumultous summer with a 'come-and-get-me' plea to Premier League side Newcastle, though his performances with France of late have been eye-catching. A thrilling player, who suffered an average end to his first major tournament in Poland and Ukraine, Debuchy will want to progress to the next level and directly challenge Bacary Sagna for a first team berth. He'll be hoping to sway new boss Deschamps in Le Havre.
Like Debuchy, Gaston Ramirez has been a definite one-to-watch for European scouts in the close-season. Moments of brilliance at the Olympic Games raised his stock a little, but Uruguay's disappointing early exit ensured the midfielder failed to seize a great opportunity to raise his value. Linked with Liverpool, Ramirez could cause a problem for France's defenders, such is his potential.
France are beginning to implement the youth and inexperienced in the national side for their World Cup programme, and with a few highly-rated players in the squad, the likes of Varane, Capoue and Yanga-Mbiwa will be expected to mould into the new Deschamps system rather than achieve a result. A relatively inexperienced Les Bleus devoid of their key players will be matched by a Uruguay side on a decent run of form. Draw.
Times In GMT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed