France - Belarus Preview: Deschamps' men out for revenge after shock defeat of two years ago
The 1998 world champions face the Eastern Europeans in Group I of World Cup qualifying, with the visitors hoping to emulate their 1-0 win in Paris exactly two years ago
By Mohammed Ali
Reveilliere, Sakho, Yanga-Mbiwa, Evra
Capoue/Valbuena, Cabaye, Mavuba,
Menez, Benzema, Ribery
Shitov, Polyakov, Verk'tsov, Mar'vich
Putsila, Kislyak, Tsiharow, Kulchiy
France coach Didier Deschamps will be without Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby, after the 26-year-old starred and scored in Friday's 1-0 win over Finland.
Diaby, who has just returned from an injury-plagued season in north London is reportedly suffering from muscular discomfort, after the impressive performance at the Olympic Stadium. Etienne Capoue and Blaise Matuidi were tipped as replacements, though Deschamps is likely to give a start to the more advanced Mathieu Valbuena on the right side of midfield.
Nevertheless, the former Marseille boss could ring the changes, with Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny, Adil Rami and Christophe Jallet in line for a starting berth.
Giroud was omitted from Friday's squad due to a minor knock, but trained throughout the weekend, and is fit for contention. Gael Clichy did not train on Sunday.
Belarus coach Georgy Kondratiev is without four first-choice players for the trip to Paris, with the visitors arriving on the back of a 1-0 defeat to Georgia in Tbilisi.
Pavel Nekhaitchik, Maksim Bordatchev (both thigh) Yan Tigorev (tibia) are all sidelined, with Kondratiev set to field a weakened midfield side.
Sergei Kornilenko will lead the side, with Renan Bressan of BATE Borisov labelled as the visitors' key player. Midfielder Syarhey Kislyak scored the winner as Belarus won at the Stade de France two years ago in the first match of Euro 2012 qualifying.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- France sit atop of Group I along with Georgia following their 1-0 win over Finland.
- The two sides' last encounter in Paris ended in a shock 1-0 victory for Belarus, during Euro 2012 qualifying.
- Didier Deschamps' side have never beaten Belarus in two attempts.
- Belarus commenced World Cup qualifying with a disappointing 1-0 defeat away to Georgia.
- The Eastern European side are still yet to taste defeat against the French, drawing 1-1 in Minsk in June 2011.
- Belarus are ranked 76th in the world by Fifa, moving up one place from the previous month.
- Yan Tsiharow is in line to make his 25th appearance for the national team.
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Top 3 Predictions
France 2-0 Belarus
- 29.77 %
France 3-0 Belarus
- 14.72 %
France 2-1 Belarus
- 9.7 %
|World Cup Qualifying - UEFA (WCQ)||Sep 10, 2013||Belarus 2 - France 4|
|World Cup Qualifying - UEFA (WCQ)||Sep 11, 2012||France 3 - Belarus 1|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Jun 3, 2011||Belarus 1 - France 1|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Sep 3, 2010||France 0 - Belarus 1|
|Nov 19, 2013||France 3 - Ukraine 0||WCQ|
|Nov 15, 2013||Ukraine 2 - France 0||WCQ|
|Oct 15, 2013||France 3 - Finland 0||WCQ|
|Oct 11, 2013||France 6 - Australia 0||FR|
|Sep 10, 2013||Belarus 2 - France 4||WCQ|
|8||Rio Antonio Mavuba||Midfielder|
The Real Madrid striker was enterprising and efficient on Friday against the Finns, constantly pin-pointing team-mates, and moving into position well as les Bleus were denied by a string of fine stops from Lukas Hradecky. The former Lyon man produced a sublime assist for Abou Diaby and was unlucky not to be among the scoresheet. Benzema will want to open his account on Tuesday evening, and on his day, will prove to be a handful for the Belarussian visitors.
Kislyak may be little known outside of Belarus, but the Krasnodar midfielder shocked European football by scoring the winner against France in this fixture exactly two years ago. While Euro 2012 qualification was not achieved, Kislyak's penchant for moving constantly across the midfield and connecting with the attacks is a testament to his unpredictability. Mamadou Sakho was drawn out on occasions against Finland, and if he starts, he will have his hands full at tracking the 25-year-old
France were somewhat lethargic on Friday against distinctly average opponents in Finland. In a group containing Spain, anything short of three points, especially in front of a partisan crowd in Paris could already place their World Cup hopes in jeopardy. Deschamps will want to avoid the tribulations that predecessor Laurent Blanc faced in 2010 against Belarus, but the national team have come a long way since.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed