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World Cup Qualifying Preview: Finland - France


Toivio, Pasanen, Moisander, Arkivou

Ring, R Eremenko, Sparv,
A Eremenko
Pukki, Ku


Jallet, Sakho, Rami, Evra
Valbuena, Cabaye, Mavuba, Ribery
Giroud, Benzema

Mixu Paatelainen commences his first full qualifying campaign as coach of Finland, but will be wary of the enormous task ahead with the nation placed in Group I of qualifying, alongside 1998 and 2010 world champions France and Spain.

Notable faces and key players for the Nordic nation include Borussia Monchengladbach's Alexander Ring, in line for his 10th cap on Friday, alongside the Eremenko brothers of Rubin Kazan. The Eagles' Euro 2012 qualifying performance started badly, with three consecutive defeats.

Meanwhile, Didier Deschamps has a lengthy injury list to contend with ahead of his first competitive game in charge of his country, with the likes of Mathieu Debuchy and Bacary Sagna yet to maintain full fitness in the 2012-13 season.

Paris Saint-Germain captain Christophe Jallet will slot in at right back, with Deschamps likely to field either Mamadou Sakho or Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa alongside Adil Rami, with Laurent Koscielny managing just a single minute of Premier League action thus far.

Abou Diaby is set to feature at some point after an impressive start to his campaign, though question marks remain over Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud, who have both failed to find the net this season.


  • Finland was unbeaten in its last four World Cup qualifiers, and has only lost one of its last five at home.

  • Nevertheless, the Nordic nation succumbed to defeat in their last two qualifying matches for Euro 2012, but beat Turkey 3-2 in May.

  • The national team is ranked 96th in the world by FIFA, its worst ever placing, after slipping down 24 positions - the second most of any nation in September.

  • Finland's last home game against France ended in a 1-0 defeat in an international friendly in 1998.

  • Didier Deschamps' reign as France coach began with a 0-0 draw against Uruguay.

  • Les Bleus are ranked 15th in the world, slipping a place in the latest list.

  • France has never lost against Finland in international encounters.

  • The Gallic nation last lost a qualifier two years ago this week, going down to Belarus at home in its first Euro 2012 encounter. It faces Belarus on Tuesday.
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