Flamboyant France Heads To Playoffs On A High Note

France miss out World Cup play-off seed

With a three-point gap separating them from Group I leaders Spain, Didier Deschamps’ men need not only a win on Tuesday but also for Georgia to inflict a first defeat on la Roja in World Cup qualification since March 1993, in order to top the group. But even that could still not be enough for France, who also require a four-goal swing in goal difference to ensure their place at next year’s tournament in Brazil. However, although France look destined to finish second, Deschamps’ outfit will be eager to gain momentum ahead of a prospective play-off. Les Bleus hammered Australia 6-0 in a friendly on Friday and will be confident of clinching victory against a Finland side that have never before beaten them. Striker Olivier Giroud goes into the game on the back of a double against Australia, while Karim Benzema will be out to find the net again after ending a 16-month goal drought for his country in the same game. However, Finland – who have already been eliminated from World Cup contention – should provide stern opposition at the Stade de France, having tasted defeat in just two of their last 11 outings. A goal from Roman Eremenko gave Mixu Paatelainen’s men a 1-0 win against Georgia on Friday, but they will need to be more clinical in front of goal if they are to end their unsuccessful campaign on a high. Finland have scored just five goals in qualification, with midfielder Kasper Hamalainen and striker Teemu Pukki, who have scored two goals each, accounting for the majority of those strikes. Paatelainen’s side have lost twice in qualifying despite their poor record in front of goal and gained an impressive result back in March when they held Spain to a 1-1 draw. The visitors have conceded six goals in their seven qualifiers and will need to maintain their defensive strength if they are to end their wait for a win over a team that has scored 10 goals in their last two matches. Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to 25 Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to 200 Sign up to Paddy Power for 250 in free bets Sign up today with Coral and get a 50 FREE bet – no strings attached! Sign up today with BetVictor and get a 25 FREE BET! Sign up with Betway for an exclusive bet 10 get 20 free bet!

France-Finland Preview: Les Bleus hoping for unlikely first-place finish

He scored twice against Belarus, netted one and set up three against Australia, and almost tore the back of the net out with a fantastic early strike against Finland. He then set up Benzema’s goal late on after some sublime trickery and a perfectly weighted cross from the left. “He’s in top form, he’s full of confidence and you can see it,” Deschamps said. “He’s always been an influential player, but he also depends on the players around him.” Giroud started at center forward for the third straight match, with Benzema again on the bench, which looks like a successful strategy by Deschamps. It has given the team more of a central focal point in attack, thanks to Giroud’s ability to either hold the ball or lay it off thanks to excellent touch, and it has made Benzema hungry again. After 15 games without an international goal, Benzema’s confidence was clearly sapping away. Dropping him to the bench has given him a wake-up call and the relief was clear at Stade de France when he enjoyed a spot of shadow boxing with the crowd as he celebrated his goal. With France in this form, it is their playoff opponents who could well be facing a knockout next month. Deschamps has switched to a far more high-tempo game and there is clearly more bite and hunger than before – perhaps best typified by Samir Nasri. His international future looked bleak after last year’s European Championship, where he was given a three-match ban for insulting a journalist and then struggled to keep his place in the Manchester City team. But Nasri has been excellent since being recalled by Deschamps. He gives the team an added touch of technique in midfield and he combines well with Ribery, his former Marseille teammate.

(GettyImages) Football News 24/7 FIFA have confirmed the seeded teams for the World Cup European qualification play-offs, with France being amongst the unseeded sides. Portugal, Ukraine, Greece and Croatia will be seeded and will face either France, Romania, Sweden or Iceland for a place in Brazil next year. The new FIFA rankings have placed France in 21st place on 870 points, meaning that Ukraine in 20th place and 871 points, beat Les Blues to the last seeded spot by one point.

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There is now a increased possibility that France will face Portugal with one of these superior footballing nations staying at home next summer. Stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo or Frank Ribery could potentially miss out the world’s most prestigious tournament. France did defeat Portugal 1-0 back in the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup in Germany however, and will back themselves for qualify should they face Ronaldo’s nation. Coach Didier Deschamps was part of the French squad that won the World Cup in 1998 – however his side will have to play well over the two legs if they want to play in the tournament for the fifth consecutive time. The draw will be made on Monday for the ties to be played on the 15th and 19th November. The official FIFA World Cup group draw will commence on 6th December. Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/130seMa DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

France’s Retirement Reform: Too Little, Too Late?

Among the world’s most developed countries, only Luxembourg has a lower effective retirement age, according to the OECD, an economic policy group. The issue of pensions is so sensitive that no one political party wants to make the painful changes that are needed. In other European countries with unsustainable retirement systems, such as Spain and Italy, the financial crisis has threatened to bankrupt the government, pushing politicians to act. France has been spared such turmoil and lacked the same incentives. “There is only one party in France and that is the status quo party,” said Kirkegaard. So in another few years, France will likely apply another Band-Aid to its pensiosn system. And so it will go, Kirkegaard said, until the crisis in France gets deep enough that it is forced to make the kinds of changes Madrid and Rome have made. Earlier on HuffPost: Loading Slideshow French egg producers throw crates of eggs from the back of a truck onto the sidewalk in front of the taxes and internal revenue service office in Carhaix-Plouguer, Brittany, western France, during a protest action, on August 7, 2013. (FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images) French egg producers break eggs in front of the taxes and internal revenue service office in Carhaix-Plouguer, Brittany, western France, during a protest action, on August 7, 2013. (FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images) French egg producers throw crates of eggs from the back of a truck onto the sidewalk in front of the taxes and internal revenue service office in Carhaix-Plouguer, Brittany, western France, during a protest action, on August 7, 2013. (FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images) A view of broken eggs as French egg producers throw crates of eggs from the back of a truck onto the sidewalk in front of the taxes and internal revenue service office in Carhaix-Plouguer, Brittany, western France, during a protest action, on August 7, 2013.