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Key Events

I. Maevski
Yellow Card
M. Volodko
M. Gordeychuk
K. Gameiro
O. Giroud
S. Kornilenko
N. Signevich
O. Dembélé
M. Sissoko
S. Krivets
I. Stasevich
D. Payet
A. Martial
M. Sivakov
Yellow Card
3
2
3
0

Stats

Possession
% %
2
10
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target 0 9
Total Passes 273 616

Commentary

That's all for our live coverage from the Borisov Arena, thanks for following along. Goodbye!
France are forced to settle for a point in their opening match of 2018 World Cup qualifying, unable to solve a stingy Belarus side in Borisov. The visitors were uninspiring for much of the match, save for a 20 minute spell in the second half, but they could not figure out Andrei Gorbunov as they are held to a frustrating draw.
FULL-TIME: BELARUS 0-0 FRANCE.
There will be three minutes added on at the end of this match, as Belarus are back on the front foot looking for the goal that would blow the roof off this place - figuratively, of course.
I. Maevski
Yellow Card
Belarus
Mayevski recognises France are about to break threateningly following a Belarus corner, so he takes one for the team, sliding in to break up the move, knowing it would see him into the book.
SENSELESS SIDIBE! What is he thinking?! Griezmann is unmarked in the centre, shouting for a cross, but the right-back decides to go for goal himself from an improbably angle at the top right corner of the penalty area! It's a comfortable save for Gobrunov and Griezmann is not happy.
Decent break from Belarus, urged on by their fans to snatch a dramatic winner, but it comes to a disappointing end as Bordachev is penalised for a high boot on Sidibe. Letoff for France, who were stretched there.
M. Volodko
M. Gordeychuk
Belarus
The last change of the night sees Maksim Volodko replace Gordeychuk.
THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN IT! That looked the chance for France, as they break two-against-one. Griezmann has Gameiro wide open in the centre, but his ball in is just behind the substitute, forcing him to turn to take it on his chest and allowing the Belarus defence to recover! What a missed opportunity that was!
K. Gameiro
O. Giroud
France
Kevin Gameiro replaces Giroud in the final roll of the dice for France.
S. Kornilenko
N. Signevich
Belarus
Belarus make their second change of the night as experienced forward Sergei Kornilenko replaces Signevich.
Selfish from Giroud! That won't please Deschamps. The Arsenal striker gets on the end of a pass atop the area and has options all around him, but opts to try and chip the keeper, rather senselessly, failing to hit the target and relieving the pressure on the Belarus goal.
The fans are backing the home side to the hilt now, sensing they just might have what it takes to open up their qualifying campaign with a crucial point against the defending Euro 2016 runners-up. It's shaping up to be a tense finish at the Borisov Arena!
STAT: Belarus have lost just one of their last eight matches across all competitions, keeping six clean sheets over that span (W4, D3).
WIDE IT GOES AGAIN! Shocking miss, that, from Pogba! The ball comes through for him at the far post following yet another save by Gorbunov, but the midfielder doesn't commit himself to the chance and instead winds up scooping a tame and rather disappointing effort wide from close range!
Belarus have got to be extra vigilant to see out this sticky period. It's almost like when you shake a can of pop. If you open it right after, it sprays everywhere, but if you leave it be, it eventually calms and goes back to normal. That's what this game feels like right now. If France score now, the floodgates might open over the last 20 minutes.
O. Dembélé
M. Sissoko
France
France's second change of the night sees Ousmane Dembele replace Sissoko.
S. Krivets
I. Stasevich
Belarus
Belarus make their first change as Krivets replaces Stasevich up top.
HOW CLOSE CAN THEY COME?! France have done everything but score in this second half! Sissoko does well to get beyond a defender and send a low cross in towards the near post where Griezmann meets it. It's a tough chance for the attacker who sends a delightfully improvised back-heel at goal, but it's kept out again by Gorbunov!
STAT: France have scored 10 goals in their last four World Cup qualifying matches, but they were held scoreless in their two preceding that run.
TIPPED OVER! Kurzawa splits two defenders to get on the end of a Payet free-kick and send a glancing header at goal, but Gorbunov is well positioned to parry over the bar for a corner. Pressure continues to mount here.
NOT FAR AWAY! Varane tries what looked a bit of an audacious strike from distance, but it wasn't all that bad in the end! The centre-half latches onto a pass and drives an effort at goal from over 30 yards, missing by a narrow margin at the far post.
OFF THE BAR! France knocking on the door now! Giroud rises above his marker to meet a corner, but his header is turned onto the bar by Gorbunov before the keeper collects the rebound as well!
LOVELY HIT! Perfect power and height from Griezmann as he gets a free-kick on target, but Gorbunov is able to get across and parry at full-stretch! That was a real opportunity for France, their best of the night thus far.
D. Payet
A. Martial
France
On comes Dimitri Payet to help change France's fortune, with Martial giving way.
M. Sivakov
Yellow Card
Belarus
The referee goes to his pocket for the first time as Sivakov is booked for tripping up Koscielny about 30 yards from goal. The ensuing free-kick could prove a chance for the visitors to test Gorbunov.
INCHES WIDE! It's the brightest moment of the match thus far for France! Great improvisation and vision from Griezmann to flick a ball through for Giroud, but the striker's effort from just inside the top of the area glances agonisingly wide of the far post!
STAT: Belarus won the first ever meeting between these two nations, a 2010 European Championship qualifier in Paris, but are winless in three meetings since (D1, L2).
Belarus' attacks haven't exactly been of the highest quality thus far, but it seems as though every time they get forward, France struggle to deal with it. The visitors' back-line has been at sixes and sevens for the greater part of this match and it's really quite puzzling.
Belarus start the second half encouragingly, but it's France who muster the first attack. Pogba sprays a teasing ball over the top for Griezmann, opting for the direct approach, but it's just overhit at the forward cannot rise high enough to get his head to it.
Here we go again!
An uninspired France side are being held at the interval by pesky Belarus, with chances hard to come by. It's the hosts who came closest to scoring through 45 minutes, with their only real attack of note on the night, while Les Blues have yet to hit their stride going forward.
HALF-TIME: BELARUS 0-0 FRANCE.
This is the way it's been for France in the first half. When they do get into good areas to whip in a cross, the deliveries have left plenty to be desired. Kurzawa finds space on the left and has both Giroud and Griezmann lurking in the area, but he can't pick out the head of either as Belarus clear their lines.
STAT: This is the third time these two sides have met in World Cup qualifying. France won the first two meetings, scoring seven goals.
Belarus are dropping deeper as the pressure builds a bit with half-time approaching. If you told them at the start they could get into the half scoreless, you can bet they would have taken the deal and ran. They deserve to be level at the moment, so it would be very harsh if they were to concede over the final five minutes.
Griezmann has had to drift into a more central role to get in possession, as there's been next to no activity out on the right. Sidibe has to offer more of a consistent option on the overlap.
France are starting to find their rhythm and apply a bit of concentrated pressure on the hosts. They're enjoying most of their success out wide, however, while there remains to be no real goal threat through the centre.
DEFLECTED WIDE! Griezmann sprays a clever first-time ball out wide for Martial, who sends a terrific cross in and onto the head of Giroud. The striker sends an effort towards goal, but an important block from a Belarus defender sends it behind for a corner.
This is a bit better from France, as they finally show a bit of urgency to get forward. Martial is coming into his own on the left, starting to find a bit more space and run at the Belarus defence.
STAT: Belarus have won just two of their last 13 World Cup qualifying matches (D2, L9).
The visitors are struggling to generate anything in the final third. They're foreign to the penalty box in this first half and it has been all too comfortable for Belarus up to this point. Griezmann floats in a free-kick from 35 yards in their latest attempt, but the hosts are first to it.
France are on edge, and they sense it. The visitors have started to pass the ball around in midfield in an attempt to take the sting out of the match and adopt some sort of rhythm in their approach, which has eluded them up to this point.
INCHES AWAY FROM THE OPENER! Kalachev does brilliantly to whip in the perfect cross from the right. It creeps behind the defence but just out of reach of Mandanda, begging to be knocked in by the head of Signevich, but the striker just fails to get the proper contact as the chance goes begging!
Belarus can hold their heads plenty high with how they've started through 20 minutes. They're getting forward quickly and decisively when they win back possession and it's caused France a few problems at the back.
STAT: These two sides were grouped together in the qualifying phase for the 2014 World Cup as well. France won 4-2 in this fixture, with Franck Ribery netting a brace.
Not a bad effort! Some intent, at least, there from France. Pogba does well to sort his footing after taking a pass from Griezmann, before driving an effort at goal from 25 yards. He doesn't get the desired accuracy behind it, however, as it's comfortable in the end for Gorbunov.
Kante shows the tenacity which won over the hearts of Leicester fans last season, stealing possession in midfield and springing Sissoko down the left. The new Tottenham recruit has daylight ahead of him if he can power past Bordachev, but the Belarus full-back does brilliantly to shield him off and let it run for a goal-kick.
Someone has to show a bit of initiative for France. Their creative types have been too unselfish, quick to pass the ball off in some decent areas as opposed to getting after it. Belarus win the ball back and break quickly, earning their first corner of the match.
This has been a less than comfortable start for France, who have come across altogether uneasy and unsure of themselves. They don't at all resemble the side that trounced Italy a few days ago, nor the one that cruised to the Euro final earlier this summer.
STAT: The nations in Group A have combined for 42 World Cup appearances all-time, more than any other group in the UEFA qualifying phase for Russia 2018.
Slowly France are starting to enjoy more possession, but they have yet to carve out a chance. It's all been rather pedestrian from them since the start, lacking the sort of cohesion required in attack.
Belarus are full of energy in the early going, pressing high up the pitch and doing their best to make life uncomfortable for the French defence. There's a real buzz inside the stadium as they try to urge their nation forward in search of a shock opening goal. France are looking vulnerable.
Sissoko escapes an early yellow, walking away with a warning after catching Stasevich just under the knee with his studs. France's two full-backs have had nervy starts, each giving the ball away, and it's helped Belarus begin this match with some confidence.
AND WE'RE OFF! France in blue, attacking right to left, with Belarus in white.
Mikalay Signevich of BATE leads the line for Belarus tonight, at his home stadium. The striker has just six previous caps to his name but he gets the nod tonight ahead of the vastly experienced Sergei Kornilenko, who is relegated to a place on the bench despite his 73 caps and 17 international goals.
At the back, Monaco's Djibril Sidibe earns just his second international cap. The Monaco right-back is joined by Laurent Koscielny, Raphael Varane and Layvin Kurzawa. Steve Mandanda gets the nod in goal with Hugo Lloris injured.
A poor start to the season has seen Blaise Matuidi dropped to the bench in favour of N'Golo Kante, who joins new Premier League recruits Paul Pogba and Moussa Sissoko. Olivier Giroud leads the line for Les Bleus, where he will be flanked by Anthony Martial and Antoine Griezmann.
SUBS: Drahun, Gutor, Chernik, Volodko, Begunov, Kislyak, Kornilenko, Krivets, Marynovich, Rios, Klopotskiy.
BELARUS (4-2-3-1): Gorbunov; Polyakov, Palitsevich, Sivakov, Bordachev; Korzun, Maevski; Kalachev, Gordeychuk, Stasevich; Signevich.
SUBS: Digne, Kondogbia, Costil, Umtiti, Corchia, Rami, Areola, Gignac, Matuidi, Gameiro, Payet, Dembele.
FRANCE (4-3-3): Mandanda; Sidibe, Varane, Koscielny, Kurzawa; Sissoko, Kante, Pogba; Griezmann, Martial, Giroud.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
It will be far from easy for Alyaksandr Khatskevich’s side to end their dubious drought in 2018 as they have been drawn into arguably the hardest qualifying group with France, Netherlands, Sweden and Bulgaria all ranked ahead of them.
Belarus have never qualified for a major international tournament since gaining their independence from the Soviet Union. The closest they came was in the build-up to the 2002 World Cup, finishing third in their qualifying group, two points behind Ukraine as they narrowly missed out on a spot in the play-off.
Of course to win international soccer’s most prestigious tournament, you first must qualify, and while it’s usually a straightforward task for Les Bleus, it could prove a bit trickier this time around with the likes of Netherlands and Sweden also vying for an automatic trip to Russia 2018.
France are hungry after losing in the final at this summer’s European Championships. Their squad is arguably deeper and stronger than it has been in well over a decade, and they have their sights set on a return to glory at the 2018 World Cup.
Hello and welcome to live coverage from the Borisov Arena in Barysaw for this World Cup qualifying match as Belarus play host to France in their opening match in Group A!
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