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FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

Stade de France (ATT 77,000) 22nd March 2013 - Kick off 20:00 Ref: I Bebek

France France vs Georgia Georgia

France 3

O Giroud (45+2)
M Valbuena (47)
F Ribery (61)

ft

Georgia 1

A Kobakhidze (70)

World Cup qualifying: France v Georgia preview

Last Updated: 21/03/13 12:49pm

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Rod Fanni: Battles with Ribery in training

Rod Fanni: Battles with Ribery in training

France defender Rod Fanni believes Georgia's "collective strength" could help the eastern European nation spring a surprise in Friday night's World Cup qualifying match.

The Marseille full-back, who was called up as Mathieu Debuchy's replacement, could turn out for Didier Deschamps' Les Bleus with next week's high-profile meeting against Spain looming large.

Having been thrown into a five-nation pool with the world and European champions, and with only one automatic place at next summer's finals in Brazil up for grabs, France must beat Georgia to assume control of Group I ahead of Tuesday's showdown.

And Fanni is urging his team-mates not to underestimate a Georgia side who have claimed four points from their qualifying games to date, having restricted Spain to an attritional 1-0 win in the second round of fixtures.

He told the FFF website: "Everything points to this game being a trap for us. They are a very tough team, very organised and we have to respect them and not take them lightly.

"They can play tricks on us and although I don't know any individual players I am worried about their collective strength. That's what we need to worry about.

"French teams are typically stronger on an individual level."

Despite their recent good form, Georgia have failed to win in 17 of their last 18 qualifying matches while a rejuvenated France side are unbeaten in 32 of their last 35 World Cup games.

"There have been a lot of changes," Fanni added. "This is healthy group that is playing well and everybody cares, which is a very good sign.

"The results have been good and this is a much calmer France team which has the desire to build for the future with a lot of youngsters."

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, 20, and Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, 19, could make their senior debuts at the Stade de France (kick-off 8pm GMT), with Deschamps considering handing rare starts to midfielders Maxime Gonalons, Dimitri Payet and Moussa Sissoko.

Winger Franck Ribery and midfielder Yohan Cabaye face late fitness tests but could well be rested with next week's visit of Spain in mind.

Christophe Jallet could beat Fanni to a starting berth at right-back but the latter is just pleased to be back in Deschamps' thoughts.

He added: "The French team is something special, in my opinion. These are some important games so it's great that I'm here.

"I've never thought I'm not good enough and if they call me I turn up and give my all."

Georgia coach Temuri Ketsbaia, meanwhile, is without defender Akaki Khubutia as he plots the win that would draw the Crusaders level on points with second-placed France.

The former Newcastle midfielder is unlikely to make many changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Belarus in the last qualifying game, with Tornike Okriashvili likely to support striker Levan Mchedlidze as 20-year-old Spartak Moscow winger Jano Ananidze moves out to the right wing.

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    Fri 22nd Mar - Group H
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Tables

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Belgium 10 26
2 Croatia 10 17
3 Serbia 10 14
4 Scotland 10 11
5 Wales 10 10
6 Macedonia 10 7

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Italy 10 22
2 Denmark 10 16
3 Czech Republic 10 15
4 Bulgaria 10 13
5 Armenia 10 13
6 Malta 10 3

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Germany 10 28
2 Sweden 10 20
3 Austria 10 17
4 Republic of Ireland 10 14
5 Kazakhstan 10 5
6 Faroe Islands 10 1

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Netherlands 10 28
2 Romania 10 19
3 Hungary 10 17
4 Turkey 10 16
5 Estonia 10 7
6 Andorra 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Switzerland 10 24
2 Iceland 10 17
3 Slovenia 10 15
4 Norway 10 12
5 Albania 10 11
6 Cyprus 10 5

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Russia 10 22
2 Portugal 10 21
3 Israel 10 14
4 Azerbaijan 10 9
5 Northern Ireland 10 7
6 Luxembourg 10 6

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina 10 25
2 Greece 10 25
3 Slovakia 10 13
4 Lithuania 10 11
5 Latvia 10 8
6 Liechtenstein 10 2

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 England 10 22
2 Ukraine 10 21
3 Montenegro 10 15
4 Poland 10 13
5 Moldova 10 11
6 San Marino 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Spain 8 20
2 France 8 17
3 Finland 8 9
4 Georgia 8 5
5 Belarus 8 4