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  • October 12, 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • Stade de France, Paris
  • Referee: W. Collum
  • • Attendance: 55000

France - Japan Preview: Deschamps' side hoping to fine-tune preparations ahead of Spain clash

France - Japan Preview: Deschamps' side hoping to fine-tune preparations ahead of Spain clash


The hosts encounter the Asian champions for the first time in nine years, and will be hoping for a result as they gear up to a trip to Madrid to face Vicente del Bosque's men

Debuchy, Koscielny, Sakho, Clichy
Sissoko, Capoue, Matuidi
Menez, Giroud, Benzema


Komano, Inoha, Yoshida, Nagatomo
Hasebe, Endo
Inui, Honda, Kagawa

France coach Didier Deschamps has been handed a boost with the news that Laurent Koscielny is fit to face Japan, after the Arsenal defender was involved in a collision with Franck Ribery in training on Wednesday.

The centre-back was forced off with the assistance of two physiotherapists, but received the all-clear on Wednesday evening, welcome news ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Spain on Tuesday.

Les Bleus are already depleted in midfield, and will not include Yohan Cabaye, who is expected sit out with an abdominal complaint, with Toulouse duo Moussa Sissoko and Etienne Capoue set to take to the field alongside Paris Saint-Germain's Blaise Matuidi.

Mathieu Debuchy will replace Christophe Jallet, making his first appearance since suffering injury in the 0-0 draw with Uruguay in August, while up front, Arsenal's Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema will join Jeremy Menez in a three-man attack.

Meanwhile, Japan are without Shinji Okazaki, as well as striker Ryoichi Maeda, who scored in the 1-0 win over Iraq last month in World Cup qualifying.

Alberto Zaccheroni could field Mike Havenaar, who has Dutch heritage, up front, with Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa and CSKA Moscow's Keisuke Honda also set to feature.

Takashi Inui has enjoyed a good start to the Bundesliga season with Eintracht Frankfurt and will be searching for his fifth cap, whilst Yasuhito Endo could become the joint-highest record cap holder in Japanese football history on Friday.

  • France have won all five of their encounters against Japan.
  • The two sides' last meeting was in the 2003 Confederations Cup, with Robert Pires and Sidney Govou scoring in a 2-1 win for the then European champions.
  • The midfielders who are expected to start for France on Friday have 11 caps between them. A total of 15 of the 23 members of the Japan squad have more.
  • Les Bleus are ranked 13th in the world rankings, two places higher than last month, and leapfrogging Brazil.
  • Neither Japan nor France have lost an international friendly since 2010.
  • The Samurai Blue are ranked 23rd in the world by Fifa, and are the current Asian champions.
  • Midfielder Yasuhito Endo is set to win his 122nd cap on Friday, equalling the record set by Masami Ihara in 1999.
  • Japan's last visit to Paris ended in a 5-0 friendly defeat in 2001.

Players to watch

H. Lloris

Position: Goalkeeper

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Hugo Lloris has endured a tough time at Tottenham of late, but has reason to be happy after Didier Deschamps confirmed that the former Lyon custodian will remain No.1 and captain. Lloris' quality has never wavered, his professionalism never questioned. He has come up big for France in the past, and will need to continue doing so with the trip to Spain looming.

S. Kagawa

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Shinji Kagawa's star has risen lately, and now featuring regularly for Manchester United in the Premier League, the 23-year-old is a player France need to keep more than eye on. Whether Kagawa can negotiate les Bleus' tough-tackling and physical midfield is another question. However, the former Dortmund man's qualities are clear to see. Fast, fantastic dribbling of the ball, and a sense of trickery, he can lay bare France's defensive frailties all on his own.

Editor's Prediction

It'll be a tricky encounter for France, who are yet to hit top form, particularly given the growing number of withdrawals, injuries and suspensions surrouding their best players. Japan themselves are a formidable opponent, and will provide a stern test for Didier Deschamps' men, but the hosts should see this one through.

Last Five Matches

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Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

France FRA
France France
Japan JPN
Japan Japan

Top 3 Predictions

France FRA
1 - 2
Japan JPN
France FRA
2 - 0
Japan JPN
France FRA
2 - 1
Japan JPN