Finland vs. France  0 - 1


Benzema urges France to keep improving

8 September 2012 16:07

France striker Karim Benzema was left delighted with his team's 1-0 victory over Finland in their World Cup qualifier on Friday.

The Real Madrid striker played a key role in France's win as he set up Abou Diaby for the only goal of the game.

Benzema, whose team face Belarus on Tuesday in their second Group I encounter, feels he is slowly starting to hit top form again.

"We need to continue in this vein. Both in attack and in defence, we started very well and we opened the scoring early," Benzema told the Ligue 1 website.

"We were less good in the second half but we rolled up our sleeves and fought hard.

"I'm very happy to have set up Abou Diaby. For me, an assist is the same as scoring.

"I felt good out there. I'm starting to come back, get stronger, but the most important thing is that everyone played well tonight.

"It was a good game against a good team that defended very well and also tackled pretty hard. There were some moments when we struggled, but we held on and we won."


Deschamps accepts narrow win

8 September 2012 04:10

France coach Didier Deschamps was satisfied at the 1-0 win over Finland in Group I of 2014 World Cup qualifying in Helsinki.

Abou Diaby struck the game's winning goal after 20 minutes, following a dazzling assist from Karim Benzema. The visitors, however, were lethargic in the second half, with Finland goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky pulling out numerous saves to deny the 1998 world champions.

The 43-year-old remained content with the victory in a group which also contains holders Spain, but insists that the result was never safe.

"In general, we did not start well. We had opportunities in the second half, but there were two beautiful saves from the Finnish goalkeeper," Deschamps told M6.

"It's a shame. In the end, there were dangerous situations. (When) we do not score the second goal, (the result) is never safe. It is good to win."

Goalscorer Diaby, whose goal proved the difference, instead expressed his delight at the victory, having made his first start for les Bleus since the Euro 2012 qualifier against Belarus in June 2011.

"I am happy to be back. The match ended with a victory, it's a big satisfaction," said the Arsenal midfielder.

"The key is to give the best of yourself in every game."


Shortage of goals disappoints Deschamps

5 September 2012 18:29

France coach Didier Deschamps is disappointed that Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud have failed to score in the 2012-13 campaign.

The Real Madrid ace is yet to open his account for the season, while his Arsenal counterpart has so far not scored either, as he continues to acclimatise to the Premier League after arriving from Montpellier earlier in the summer.

Speaking ahead of France's clash with Finland on Friday, Deschamps conceded that his strikers' form leaves a lot to be desired, going into their first match of the World Cup 2014 qualification campaign.

"It would be better if Benzema and Giroud had already scored this season," he remarked.

However, the former Juventus midfielder had better news for Giroud's club-mate Abou Diaby, who is likely to start against the Scandinavians, and spoke of his optimism regarding the task of taking France to Brazil in two years' time.

"Diaby may start the game on Friday," he said.

"Also, I don't want to change the defence in each game. We must find an understanding.

"It's a new adventure. We don't have to talk about Euro 2012. I would be very happy to have six points after Belarus. It's the objective."