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EC Qualification

  • June 3, 2011
  • • 19:50
  • • Stadyen Dynama, Minsk
  • Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan
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Euro 2012 qualifying preview: Belarus - France

Euro 2012 qualifying preview: Belarus - France

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Les Bleus will look to exact revenge on Friday night after Bernd Stange's men secured a shock victory back in September.

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PROBABLE LINE-UPS
Belarus (4-4-2)

Zhevnov; Shitov, Martynovich, Verkhovtsov, Amelyanchuk; Kalachow, Tigarev, Putsila, Kryvets; Varankow, V. Hleb

Belarus


Bernd Stange has omitted Barcelona's Alexander Hleb from the squad to face France tomorrow. The midfielder, who has been on loan at relegated Birmingham, has suffered a string of injuries in the past season, and the German tactician believes the 30-year old isn't match fit for the top-of-the-table clash.

Striker Vitaly Kutuzov and midfielder Vitaly Rodionov, also miss out while Sergei Kornilenko, Dmitry Malosh and Alexander Kulchiy are suspended.
France (4-3-3)

Lloris; Sagna, Sakho, Rami, Evra; M'Vila; Matuidi, Nasri; Ribery, Malouda; Benzema

France


Laurent Blanc is waiting on the fitness of Loic Remy and Abou Diaby ahead of their Euro 2012 qualifying fixture against Belarus on Friday. It was reported earlier this week that both players sat out training due to persistent injuries.

Blanc has also called up a number of fringe players and new faces to the squad, most notably Younes Kaboul and Sochaux's Marvin Martin, who enjoyed a stellar club season and may play a part in this fixture, albeit from the bench.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Belarus caused arguably one of the shocks of the qualifying campaign, after they secured a 1-0 win in Paris in Laurent Blanc's first competitive game as national team manager.
  • The Eastern Europeans lie second in Group D, having amassed eight points so far.
  • Bernd Stange's side have only scored two goals in four qualifiers since that famous victory.
  • Friday's encounter will be the second time the two nations have met in international competition.
  • Belarus were beaten 1-0 by Albania in their previous qualifier.
  • They also slipped to a 1-0 defeat by Canada in their last international.
  • Nevertheless, Belarus lie 37th in the World Rankings.
  • France have not lost a game since their surprise defeat to Belarus in September and sit top of Group D, four points clear.
  • Laurent Blanc's men have won six of their previous seven games since.
  • Les Bleus have also notched up four successive victories in their qualifying campaign in that period.
  • Laurent Blanc, who is battling a race quota scandal, will look to make it five competitive wins in succession, a feat that has not occurred since 2003.
  • Les Bleus made hard work of overcoming minnows Luxembourg in their previous qualifier, as they laboured to a 2-0 in unconvincing fashion.
  • They were also held in their previous international, which saw them play out a goalless draw against Croatia in March.
  • France occupy 19th position in the World Rankings.

Related

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
Players to Watch
Vyacheslav Hleb
Vyacheslav Hleb
Position:
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The lesser known Hleb could well be a focal part of the Belarusian's endeavours against the 1998 World Champions. The 28 year old, who has 11 goals for the national side is expected to lead the line for a weakened home side, and the nomadic forward could be a difficult man to mark with his ability to create chances.
Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
4 0 0 0
The Real Madrid forward has enjoyed a strong finish to the season, and his impressive performances for France over the campaign make him a huge threat to Belarus' chances of salvaging something from a difficult game. "Benz" could be expected to add to his 12 strikes for the national team, and with the fearsome shot and strong composure that he possesses, the hosts could be in for a difficult 90 minutes.
Prediction
Les Bleus have been improving as of late, and with Belarus missing half of their key players due to various reasons, it would be hard to see the Eastern Europeans do an unlikely double over the 1998 World Champions. A comfortable and efficient victory for France looks to be the most likely outcome.
Editor's Prediction
France 2

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