Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 13th 2013 Contents A67
October 13, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
PARIS---Having failed to find the
net in five consecutive matches,
France is scoring for fun with 10
goals in the past two and confi-
dence is visibly returning to Didier
Deschamps previously lackluster
France won 4-2 away to Belarus
in a World Cup qualifier last month
and thrashed Australia 6-0 in a
friendly on Friday, a result that led
to Australia coach Holger Osieck
getting sacked, but also boosted
French confidence ahead of Tues-
day s final qualifier against Finland.
Although Australia defended
poorly, offering France too much
space, the speed of thought and
the fluidity of the passing gave
Deschamps plenty of reason for
optimism heading into next month s
World Cup playoffs.
France is destined to finish sec-
ond in Group I behind World Cup
winner Spain, which needs only a
point against Georgia in its final
qualifier Tuesday to send France
into the playoffs.
"Whoever plays us won t be
smiling, either," Deschamps said
yesterday. "The goals came about
thanks to some good build-up play,
movement and speed---everything
clicked. It s satisfying to see them
playing like this."
It was a far cry from the insipid
performance during last month s
0-0 draw away to Georgia and the
woeful first half against Belarus,
where France was in total disarray
and trailed 1-0 before responding
with four second-half goals.
In recent years, France has often
been jeered by its home fans at
matches. But on Friday night, the
hard-to-please crowd rose to their
feet at Parc des Princes to applaud
them off the pitch after a feast of
"People want to be thrilled and
to feel sensations," Deschamps said.
There was another welcome
sight: Karim Benzema scoring again
for the first time since June last
After ending his 15-match run
without a France goal, Benzema
was quick to play it down.
"I knew it wouldn t last 10 years.
But once again, the most important
thing is the team, not me," the Real
Madrid striker said. "It had been
a while. I m very happy but it s not
just about my goal. You have to talk
about the match, how spectacular
it was. If it was 6-0 then that s
down to the whole ateam."
Benzema remains under pressure,
however, and in the last two games
has lost his starting place to Arse-
nal s Olivier Giroud, who scored
twice and led the line brilliantly
against the Australians with his
touch and link play. Giroud said in
an interview leading up to the game
that he felt he had earned the right
to start at No 9.
"We scored six, that s why I m
smiling today, and because I scored
twice. I won t lie," Giroud said. "I
have a lot of belief in this team."
Giroud clearly thrived with the
recalled Samir Nasri playing behind
him in a playmaker role---like when
Giroud scored on his debut against
Germany in February, 2012.
But with a goal and three assists,
Franck Ribery underlined his status
as France s inspirational player. The
30-year-old winger is in the best
form of his career for Bayern
Munich and France is reaping the
However, that does make France
look a bit predictable at times, as
many of the attacks stem from the
left, where Manchester United
defender Patrice Evra likes to com-
bine with Ribery.
"He s one of the best players in
the world, and the more he gets on
the ball the better," Deschamps said.
"Most teams have a favourite sys-
tem. The important thing is to keep
Deschamps got a further boost
with center half Laurent Koscielny
returning to training on Saturday
after missing Friday s game because
of a calf injury.
Confidence returning to
improving France team Brazil beats South
Korea 2-0 in friendly
SEOUL---Neymar and Oscar scored
either side of halftime to give Brazil
a 2-0 win over South Korea in a
Neymar curled home a free kick
from just outside the area to put the
2014 World Cup host ahead in the
44th minute. Three minutes after the
break, a simple through pass from
Paulinho freed Oscar and the Chelsea
star rounded goalkeeper Jung Sung-
ryong to extend Brazil s lead.
"While it was good to score from
a free kick, I prefer to score from open
play," Neymar said. "It was not an
easy game and there were many tack-
it was not a big problem."
The five-time world champion did
not play at its best but took the
chances that came its way in clinical
"We played better than I expected,"
said Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari,
referring to the lengthy trip to East
Asia. "We overcame the situation
well, started to play the way we want-
ed to play and picked up a good win
against a strong team. Korea had us
worried and was excellent in the final
After a shaky start, South Korea
exerted considerable pressure on the
South Americans but struggled to
create clear openings.
"We can take confidence from this
game," said South Korea coach Hong
Myong-bo, who was captain of the
team that defeated Brazil in Seoul in
1999, the last Asian team to do so.
"We made just two mistakes and
lost the game," Hong added. "The
players did their best against a very
good opponent and while I am sorry
we did not win in front of a big crowd,
we can build upon the performance."
Brazil continues its Asian tour on
Tuesday by taking on Zambia in Bei-
jing while South Korea, which has
already qualified for the World Cup,
hosts Mali. (AP)
Brazil's Neymar celebrates after
scoring a goal against South Korea
during their friendly football match
at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul,
South Korea, yesterday. Brazil won 2-
0. AP PHOTO
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