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WC Qualification Europe

  • March 22, 2013
  • • 20:00
  • • Stade de France, Paris
  • Referee: I. Bebek
  • • Attendance: 71147
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France-Georgia Preview: Deschamps' men aim to warm up for Spain with win

France-Georgia Preview: Deschamps' men aim to warm up for Spain with win

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Les Bleus might've lost their first game of the calendar year, but they hope to continue where they left off in Group I against Ketsbaia's side ahead of the visit of the champions

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

FRANCE
France
Lloris
Jallet, Koscielny, Sakho, Evra
Valbuena, Matuidi, Cabaye, Ribery
Benzema, Giroud
GEORGIA

Revishvili
Kashia, Amisulashvili, Khizanishvili
Okriashvili, Targamadze
Kankava, Daushvili, Grigalashvili
Ananidze, Devdariani

France coach Didier Deschamps is set to tinker with his side against Georgia on Friday evening, ahead of the potential group decider against world champions Spain in Paris next week.

The former Marseille boss hinted earlier in the week he may try a 4-4-2 formation, with Karim Benzema and Arsenal's Olivier Giroud both starting against the Eastern European outfit.

With Mathieu Debuchy pulling out of the squad after limping off in Newcastle's game against Wigan on Sunday, Deschamps has called upon a familiar face in the form of Rod Fanni. The Marseille defender could be in line for a start should Paris Saint-Germain's Christophe Jallet fail to make the grade.

Young talents Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane are set to be benched, with Deschamps preferring the tried and tested duo of Laurent Koscielny and Mamadou Sakho in defence.

Georgia coach Temuri Ketsbaia is also without a few players due to injury. Defender Akaki Khubutia failed to join the side to train on Wednesday at Stade Charlety due to travel issues, while Zurab Khizanishvili and Jano Ananidze will be known faces to many European football aficionados.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • France have won two out of their three World Cup qualifiers in the 2014 cycle, dropping points only to Spain.

  • Les Bleus lost their last fixture to Germany, in an international friendly in February.

  • The two nations have only met twice before, in qualification for Euro 2008. France won 1-0 in Paris, before a 3-0 win in Tbilisi (pictured right).
  • Georgia sit in third place in Group I of World Cup qualifying. A win against France would take them level on points.
  • The Eastern European side's win over Albania last month was their first in five games.
  • Georgia occupy 69th position in the world rankings, while Levan Kobiashvili heads the all-time Georgia caps tally with 100.

Players to watch

M. Valbuena

Position: Midfielder

Games: 10

  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
The Marseille star has blossomed only intermittently on the international stage, but after proving himself worthy under his former club boss, the 27-year-old is only now reaping the rewards. A superb performance against Joachim Low's side last month failed to stop defeat, and should he be used from the outset in Paris on Friday, Valbuena is likely to make the same impact. Pacy, strong, despite his small stature, as well as abundant creativity - the winger could prove to be France's not-so-secret weapon.

Z. Khizanishvili

Position: Defender

Games: 5

  • 0
  • 1
  • 0
Well known to Premier League and Scottish fans, Khizanishvili remains a stalwart at the back for his country, approaching 90 caps. Whereas his stay on the British Isles was mixed with success north of the border marred by mediocrity in England, the 32-year-old, now at Kayserispor in Turkey, still appears to perform admirably with a number of competent displays. His tackling has always been sharp, with positional sense a great asset. Could he contribute to a shock this weekend?

Editor's Prediction

While Deschamps' side faltered in last month's friendly against Germany, there were plenty of positives, not least what the likes of Mathieu Valbuena and Blaise Matuidi bring to the international table. Georgia will put up resistance, and are a tough side, as Spain almost found out to their cost but the hosts should really wrap this one up.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

France

Georgia

Wins
3
1
0
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

France FRA
France France
Draw
Georgia GEO
Georgia Georgia
79%
16%

Top 3 Predictions

France FRA
2 - 0
Georgia GEO
France FRA
3 - 0
Georgia GEO
France FRA
3 - 1
Georgia GEO

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