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France in desperate need of a win, or even a goal

AFP/The Local · 10 Sep 2013, 09:07

Published: 10 Sep 2013 09:07 GMT+02:00

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France go into their key World Cup qualifier in Belarus on Tuesday again embroiled in crisis as a goal drought and lack of victories has left their dreams of Brazil in 2014 hanging delicately in the balance.

Didier Deschamps captained the side to their solitary global crown in 1998 but after a bright start to their Group I campaign, the wheels have come off in spectacular fashion and Deschamps' haul of four victories in 11 matches at the helm is the worst on record.

They go into the tie with another unwanted French record hanging over their heads after having failed to score in their last five matches, with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema being the chosen culprit by the media as to why the team are likely to have to negotiate the play-offs in order to reach South America.

It seems far-fetched to believe world champions Spain will relinquish their three-point lead at the top of the pool with home matches against Belarus and Georgia to come in October, while Finland are only five points back in third and travel to Paris in the final round of qualifiers.

To make matters worse, UEFA player of the year Franck Ribery picked up a knock during the dismal 0-0 draw in Georgia on Friday and the Bayern Munich winger is now a doubt to make the starting line-up.

"I am not here for me and I am not here either to not obtain results," Deschamps said from the team's pre-match base in Tbilisi.

"I am not in the game to obtain records and I am not going to say that this pleases me or makes me proud but it doesn't stop me from sleeping at night," he continued in reference to possibly presiding over the first French team since 1925 to fail to score in over 500 minutes.

Benzema has enjoyed success at club level and is now first-choice at the Santiago Bernabeu but 15 goals in 60 matches for France leaves his credibility hanging by a thread internationally.

His partnership with Arsenal's in-form Olivier Giroud failed to click into gear against Georgia and there were questions posed over why Deschamps chose to use an untested 4-2-3-1 formation which failed to provide creativity in attack.

Story continues below…

"I will make choices for the good of the team. I still have some solutions but do not have a miracle cure.

"I have not decided who will play in Belarus but I will make choices for the good of the team. We are lacking in efficiency. We need to improve this aspect."

Should France fail to overtake Spain and be forced down the play-off route, they could come up against the likes of Croatia, Russia, Sweden or even England with a chance they may lose their seeded status after slipping down the world rankings to 23.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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