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WC Qualification Europe
September 10, 2013
• Stadyen Central'ny, Homel' (Gomel)
Referee: D. Orsato
• Attendance: 12203
E. Filipenko 32'
T. Kalachev 57'
F. Ribéry 47', 64'
S. Nasri 70'
P. Pogba 73'
Much improvement needed for France if they are to qualify for next year's World Cup, but now they are scoring again, anything can happen with confidence. I'm Simon Harrison, I hope that you enjoyed the match, and I hope to see you all again next time.
That's all we have time for tonight, but that was a thoroughly enjoyable 4-2 win for France in Stadyen Central in Gomel, versus Belarus. A plucky attempt by the hosts was eventually stomped out by world-class talent.
Three much-needed points for France, who looked to be on the brink of missing out on automatic qualification following a dreadful first half performance. They managed to break the national record for minutes without scoring, but I don't suppose the travelling fans will mind anymore.
Two goals from Ribery, one for Pogba and one for Nasri were enough for the away side, to overturn the advantage given to the hosts by goals from Filipenko and Kalachev. Lloris didn't have his best outing on his 50th cap, but the win is most important for France.
FULL TIME! Belarus 2-4 France! Les Blues avoid an embarrassing defeat, after going 2-1 down, thanks mainly to the heroics of Franck Ribery. The scoreline doesn't tell the whole story in this one, but Deschamps will be a very relieved man.
90' + 3'
90' + 3'
Les Blues move the ball quickly in midfield, looking to shift the ball to the right in search of Sagna, but Pogba is brought down. The free-kick is given, and France continue to hold onto the ball. Belarus half-heartedly press.
90' + 2'
We're into stoppage time, and France continue to waste time, passing the ball back to Lloris whenever possible. Belarus break, and Rodionov beats Sagna before whipping in a cross, but Abidal heads clear.
90' + 1'
BORDACHEV! The full-back goes for the spectacular, attempts to try an outrageous lob! Lloris watches it all of the way, presumably still conscious of the terrible errors he's made in this contest thus far.
Good defending from Koscielny, he concedes a corner, but it was good covering nonetheless, as the overlapping Balanovich put in a testing delivery.
France win the ball in the final third of the field, but signals their intent for the remaining minutes by passing the ball negatively to Sagna, who then distributes to Lloris. It's simply a case of running down the clock, and the hosts look willing to comply.
Bressan brings down Pogba, and France have a free-kick, which they take their time over. Now that the Belarus pressure has subsided a little, Les Blues have stroked the ball around well in the last five minutes, with Sagna, Matuidi and Pogba combining well.
Good work from Sagna! He outpaces the tiring Bordachev, and whips in a ball from the byline, but it is cleared at the front post. France get their foot back on the ball, and continue to stroke it around composedly.
There is nothing in the way of atmosphere at Stadyen Central, as the home fans appear to accept that their team have been simply outclassed by some clinical Ribery involvement tonight. Some drums continue, but I think that this game has finished as a contest.
Two goals to the good, France are happy to let their opponents have the ball inside their own half. The creative likes of Hleb look too tired to make an impact for Belarus, and it seems their game is over. Nasri tries an ambitious strike, but skews the ball well wide of the target.
Giroud looks to be in some discomfort after a dangerous challenge from Bordachev, but the referee isn't interested. The Arsenal striker gestures that the Belarus full-back's studs came over the ball, but thankfully he isn't hurt to the point of requiring substitution.
Yellow CardAliaksandr Hleb
Ribery is replaced, and deserves an embrace from Deschamps on his way off the field. The Bayern man has saved Les Blues from demise here, his penalty and finish look to have steered his team from the rocks and towards qualification.
Great defending! Valbuena breaks away down the right, but good covering from Rodionov allows for the substitute to make a great block! Ribery was lurking in the centre, that could have been the killer goal.
Fresh legs are the order of the day for Belarus, as Kondratjev attempts to add a bit of fight to his fatigued team. The home side can certainly take heart from this result, two goals against a top side is no mean feat.
France are in control and don't look like throwing this one away whatsoever now. Belarus look tired and not quite willing to do the running that they managed in the first half. Nasri and Ribery have been a nightmare for the tiring Belorussians to deal with in the last ten minutes.
France have somehow managed to drag themselves into a very good position, Deschamps' men are two goals to the good with not too long left on the clock. Nasri's introduction has caused a few more problems for the Belarus back line.
GOAL! POGBA! That's his first for Les Blues! A goalmouth scramble, caused from terrible goalkeeping from Veremko, allows for the Juve man to fire home from close range!
Well, the crowd are silent now! From such a strong position, Belarus have tired a little, and it has showed. They keep dropping deeper to compensate, and getting trapped so far into their own half has limited their opportunities to break. Hopefully falling behind will force them to press out once more.
GOOOAL! HAT-TRICK! NASRI! Veremko couldn't get near that! The Man City man wriggles his way into some space at the edge of the box, and Nasri slams home courtesy of a deflection!
Good running from Bordachev, but the left-back can't prevent a wild crossfield ball from running out of play for a goal kick. Belarus have put in plenty of effort to stay ahead of France for large portions of the game, so spaces may open up due to fatigue in the foreseeable future.
POGBA! The Juventus man tries his luck from range, but it's blocked well! France are edging closer, but you get the feeling that tonight, any attempt from Belarus could find its way in past a shaky Lloris.
Quite how France are in with a chance of winning this game is ridiculous, both of Ribery's goals have come out of absolutely nothing. With plenty of time left, and hopefully the momentum in their favour, Deschamps' men should have their tails up.
GOOOAL! RIBERY! The Bayern man taps in at the back post after good work from Valbuena down the right, and France are back in the game!
The introduction of Nasri should be a welcome one for Les Blues, as Payet has offered very little in this game. Deschamps is yet to throw on out-of-favour Benzema, but with the way this is going, he must be the next to arrive on the field.
GIROUD! Valbuena flights in a corner, and the Arsenal man rises well at the edge of the six yard box, but nods the ball waywardly over the bar. He kicks at the ground in frustration.
Half an hour left on the clock, and Deschamps needs a miracle to get a win from this game. The crowd are back in good voice, Belarus have their tails up, and his goalkeeper's confidence is presumably shot at. Deschamps looks to shuffle his cards with a substitution.
Question marks over Lloris' goalkeeping once again however, as Kalachev's effort was straight at the Tottenham shot-stopper. It was powerful, but the Frenchman really should have done a bit better with that.
GOOOOOAL! BELARUS LEAD 2-1! KALACHEV! He's thundered that into the back of the net, and Lloris looks stunned! The crowd go wild, and rightly so!
Good work from Ribery! The Bayern winger plucks the ball out of the air and turns smartly in once motion, before racing to the byline. His ball is intelligent, as he cuts it back nicely, but Martynovich clears.
Poor from Bordachev, the left-back gives the ball away, allowing for France to break. Thankfully for the Belorussian, Ribery is forced wide by Balanovich and no damage is done.
Belarus turn on the fluid football once again in the final third, and France are struggling to get the ball from them. Hleb is rolling back the years, strolling around with expert control of the ball with his socks rolled down to near his ankles. Good stuff from the home side.
Hleb was almost through on goal there, but the ball down the line from Balanovich was slightly too heavy and France gain possession. Les Blues counter, and Ribery flashes an effort across Veremko's goal, it skips past the post.
VALBUENA! An unconvincing save from Veremko! Can't blame the Marseille man for trying from there, space just opened up for him from thirty yards out. Payet tries to connect with the rebound, but knocks the ball out for a goal kick.
Belarus stick to their gameplan to frustrate, and plenty of white shirts are behind the ball, at times the entire eleven. France are moving the ball with more verve and purposes, but still can't quick move it quickly enough to stretch Belarus.
Hleb is found offside, and the BATE Borisov man complains to Putsila, who should have spotted that his teammate didn't want the ball. Belarus haven't had that fluid and dangerous air to their counter attacks so far in the second period.
The home crowd are stunned, France have a firm foothold in this match-up now. Les Blues have seen plenty of early possession, and look to be in a much better position compared to how they ended the second half. What a difference a goal makes.
Penalty GoalFranck Ribéry
GOOOAL! RIBERY! 1-1! He converts to drag his side back into the game! Deschamps checks his watch, yes Didier, there's plenty of time for your side to get back in this one!
PENALTY TO FRANCE! It took merely seconds, but Veremko has brought down Ribery for a penalty, and a lifeline for Les Blues!
Yellow CardSergei Veremko
The atmosphere is rather tense, but both teams are ready for kick-off, and we are back underway for the second half of this rather interesting international match-up. France need a win from this game, to pragmatically be in with a chance of automatic qualification.
With Karim Benzema sitting on the bench, his side struggling for the opening goal and the Real Madrid man having a point to prove, perhaps Deschamps can look to the 25-year-old in the second half. They need quite a catalyst to turn this around.
France arrived at Stadyen Central hoping for a quick start, that would enable them to keep pace with Spain at the top of Group I, but instead they have a second-half mountain to climb. Hleb has impressed for the hosts, and a French win hardly looks pragmatic.
No stoppage time, there goes the halftime whistle! A terrible, terrible half for Les Blues, who head into the break 1-0 behind to a Filipenko close-range header. Nothing is going right for the French, who continue their goalless run.
France win a corner, after a long spell of being barraged, but it's predictably wasted, as Valbuena once again fails to lift the ball over the first man. Deschamps looks unimpressed, and I presume that the faces of the travelling French support look no different to that of their manager.
Yellow CardGael Clichy
Excellent turn from Hleb! The veteran is really inspiring his team, and two crosses within a minute trouble the France defence, the latter of which forces Abidal into a good clearance. Clichy has had a horrible first half against the combined effort of Hleb and Balanovich.
Good work from Belarus again, and Balanovich forces Matuidi to put the ball behind for a corner. The goalscorer Filipenko comes up once again, but the set piece is taken short to Hleb. The former Birmingham man floats a cross towards the back post, but Clichy clears.
Substitutes are already warming up for the visitors, they could be more of a motivational tool for Deschamps, to warn his players that they aren't performing to their capabilities. Nasri is one of the man out of his seat, he could certainly make a difference.
VALBUENA! The Marseille man tries his luck from range, gets his effort horribly wrong, before going down in a heap following a challenge from Kalachev. No foul given, and rightly so.
Nice work from Ribery opens up play towards Sagna, and the Arsenal full-back flights in a cross. Payet gets up, but the ball narrowly evades his forehead, and another attack peters out. I just can't see where the goal is going to appear from for Les Blues.
A cute ball over the top of the Belarus defence ends up almost finding Ribery, who desperately attempts to throw some part of his body at the ball, but the delivery bobbles behind for a goal kick. It's just not quite clicking for Les Blues, despite their fluid front line.
POGBA! Ribery cuts inside and tees up the Juventus youngster, who has a reputation for the long-range spectacular, but he gets his connection all wrong. Poor from the former Manchester United midfielder.
Ten minutes until half time, and I am sure that Deschamps won't be happy with anything but an equaliser before the break. The French second in command is warned by the referee for complaining too much to the fourth official, but the game continues without further action.
GIROUD! The Arsenal man rises highest in the penalty area, but he nods the ball straight at the feet of Veremko! Half chance of the visitors, perhaps an equaliser is on its way...
Yellow CardEgor Filippenko
What a nightmare of a first half for Deschamps! That's the first time that Lloris has been forced into a real save, and he's made a real mess of handling that Filipenko header. The home side don't mind though, not one bit!
GOOOAL! Lloris concedes on his 50th cap, and it's the fault of the Tottenham man! Filipenko nets his first goal of his international career and Les Blues are behind! A poor header from the Belarus defender, but it bobbles over Lloris!
Hleb breaks for the home side, and his footwork is proving tough for France to deal with. Clichy is forced to put the ball behind after a cute ball inbetween Clichy and Koscielny by the former Barcelona man.
Slow stuff for France, plenty of men behind the ball as Les Blues look a tad sluggish. Belarus' shape has been great so far, and some potent counter attacking is labelling the hosts as a real threat.
Veremko punches clear yet another France corner! Les Blues have had plenty of set pieces, but nothing to show for them thus far, as either the delivery or the goalkeeping is preventing any chances being carved out.
Well, France have just broken a very unwanted record during this game! Due to their failure to score inside the opening 22 minutes, they've surpassed the previous record time without scoring. That record has stood for 75 years, quite a feat to break it.
France win yet another corner, as Sagna's delivery from the right is deflected behind. Valbuena takes, but it fails to beat the first man! He picks up the rebound, centres the ball at the second attempt, but Veremko claims.
CLOSE! KOSCIELNY! A back post corner falls to Koscielny, but his effort is deflected onto the roof of the net, with Veremko merely a spectator! Not too sure what the defender knew about that! The resultant corner is wasted, with France penalised for a push on Veremko.
The minutes are slowly ticking by, and France still look no closer to grabbing a much-needed opening goal. Deschamps' men look to be trying to release Franck Ribery quickly, to get in behind the attack-minded Balanovich, but thus far the distribution has been nowhere near good enough.
VALBUENA! The Marseille man drills the free-kick straight towards the front post, and Veremko fumbles his claim! Koscielny looks to snap at the gloves of the Belarus goalkeeper to try and turn home the loose ball, but the referee penalises the Arsenal defender.
Matuidi is brought down whilst breaking for France, and Les Blues have a free-kick in a dangerous area, Valbuena to take..
Putsila has a great chance to try his luck for Belarus! Some lovely interplay around the edge of the French box comes together for the hosts, with Putsila looks to pivot and drive beyond Koscielny, but the Volga man is forced back the way he came. Belarus have looked silky in the final third.
Belarus are staying organised sitting rather deep, and their physically imposing defenders are having an enjoyable time thus far against the diminutive trio of Valbuena, Ribery and Payet. Unless France can get in behind, they're going to struggle tonight.
The white shirts of Belarus are frustrating those of the attacking Les Blues, as a central defence of three players looks to be isolating Giroud rather well for the hosts. Things are yet to click for France, they're yet to have a good chance in this game.
Things haven't gone the in way of Giroud in the first quarter of an hour, the Arsenal man looks rather flustered despite not seeing much meaningful possession. The pressure is on his shoulders to score tonight, with Benzema on the bench.
RIBERY! The flag is up! The Bayern man ghosted in at the back post unnoticed, and challenged Veremko to a long, floated back into the box from Sagna, but the linesman's flag denies the Frenchman the opportunity to tap the ball home at the second attempt.
Veremko has been very much the least troubled goalkeeper so far, which Deschamps will not be pleased with. The urgency is dwindled from the visitors, and I think they realise they're in for a tough outing. That said, Belarus have good home form, managing a win and a draw at Stadyen Central during this qualifying campaign.
Belarus are having the better of the early stages, their willingness to break quickly is causing Deschamps' men plenty of problems. Hleb looks to be at his tricky best, wriggling away from challenges with his good close control.
Hleb and Putsila combine nicely, to give Dragun a chance to turn smartly on the edge of the area, which he does, but his second touch gets away from him. The attack is then stopped in its tracks, as Putsila is penalised for a poor challenge on Ribery.
GIROUD! A good ball from Ribery comes to nothing, as Giroud attempts to control the ball inside the six yard box, but enough pressure is put on the Frenchman for him to fumble his touch in the direction of the waiting Veremko.
BALANOVICH! The right-back marauds forward, and is slipped through on goal brilliantly by Dragun! He fires narrowly wide of Lloris' far post, that was a great chance for the Belarus man!
With possession exchanged regularly in the midfield third, no chances have been forthcoming of yet. France have looked for a direct ball to Giroud on two occasions, but the Arsenal man hasn't been able to get on the ball. Payet fires harmlessly wide.
Kalachev is now flagged for offside! The right winger complains to the linesman, but the decision most certainly stands. France are holding their line well here, pushing reasonably high up the field, as can be expected when the away side are confident they can control.
The urgency for France is clear from the off, Les Blues know that they need a good start and more important a good three points to keep their qualifying hopes alive. Belarus will be doing all they can to frustrate, you can be sure of that.
Belarus have plenty of men behind the ball, but they look to break quickly! Putsila gets in behind Koscielny, but the striker is called back for offside. Things look rigid for the hosts tonight, with a back five, but an offensive trio that are willing to break.
Slightly dangerous challenge from Balanovich earns France a free-kick in an advanced area, the Belarus right-back slipped, flinging himself dangerous in on Ribery. It's taken to the near post, but Pogba's flick deflects behind for a corner.
A good opening spell of calm possession for the visitors. Just to clarify, Les Blues are sporting a 4-2-3-1 formation tonight, with Valbuena, Payet and Ribery behind the favoured Giroud.
We're underway! France aren't prepared to miss out on automatic qualification, so this should be a very interesting game for the neutral!
It's time for the national anthems, as kick-off approaches inside the next five minutes at Stadyen Central'ny. Deschamps' men will have to be at their best to grab a much-needed three points tonight, if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the World Cup automatically.
Belarus are in better form out of the two respective countries tonight, managing two wins from their last five games, but they sit in bottom place in Group I. France, meanwhile, are winless in their last five matches, though admittedly involving the much tougher likes of Brazil, Spain, Uruguay and Belgium in that time period.
France substitutes: Gignac, Rami, Mangala, Kondogbia, Guilavogui, Benzema, Debuchy, Landreau, Sissoko, Evra, Mandanda, Nasri.
Belarus substitutes: Gutor, Volodko, Olekhnovich, Zhavnerchik, Sitko, Renan, Chernik, Kislyak, Kornilenko, Rodionov.
France starting line-up: Lloris, Sagna, Abidal, Koscielny, Clichy, Ribery, Matuidi, Valbuena, Pogba, Payet, Giroud.
Belarus starting line-up: Veremko, Filipenko, Bordachev, Verkhovtsov, Martynovich, Hleb, Putsila, Balanovich, Tigorev, Kalachev, Dragun.
TEAM NEWS: Etienne Capoue, Clement Grenier and Maxime Gonalons miss out through injury. Karim Benzema, who is without an international goal for over a year, is placed on the bench in favour of Arsenal's domestically in-form Olivier Giround.
Tonight marks Hugo Lloris' 50th cap for his country, and I'm sure that the Tottenham goalkeeper will hope to enjoy a commemorative clean sheet to celebrate. No big changes for Didier Deschamps' men, but the misfiring Karim Benzema is named amongst the substitutes.
Good evening, and welcome to live coverage of France's potentially problematic visit to bottom-placed Belarus, in Group I World Cup qualifying action. After a goalless draw against Georgia last week, Les Blues will be hoping to right their form.
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