Dan Wetzel:

World Cup Qualifying Preview: France - Georgia



Jallet, Koscielny, Sakho, Evra
Valbuena, Matuidi, Cabaye, Ribery
Benzema, Giroud

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, ahead of the potential group decider against world champion 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 defense.

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.

  • France has 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 sits 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 its first in five games.
  • Georgia is 69th in the latest FIFA world rankings, while Levan Kobiashvili heads the all-time Georgia caps tally with 100.

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