Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 19th 2013 Contents LONDON---France needs an unprecedented
comeback to avoid missing its first World
Cup in 20 years. No European team has ever
qualified for the World Cup through the play-
offs after losing the first leg 2-0.
Two decades after France failed to qualify
for the 1994 World Cup following a shock
home defeat against Bulgaria, Les Bleus lost
to Ukraine for the first time in the first leg by
a two-goal margin.
That means the odds are indeed heavily
stacked against Didier Deschamps s team ahead
of today s return game at the Stade de France.
The French players display was so poor on
Friday that it led the French media to question
if the national side s performance had been
the "worst in history."
To turn around the result, France needs to
rediscover its attacking potency as Deschamps---
who won the 1998 World Cup and the European
championships two years later as a player, must
decide who to play up front against an extremely
well organised Ukrainian side.
"We ll need to have that bit of folly that will
make for an exceptional match," Deschamps
said. "It s up to the players to get into that
mentality. But we also have to realise they
won t play with 10 players at the back. We
have to put them under pressure from the start
and show a lot of determination and keep the
high tempo going until the end."
Flourishing in the Premier League this season,
Loic Remy had a poor game on the right wing
in Kiev and could be replaced with Karim Ben-
zema, meaning that Deschamps could keep
Olivier Giroud as his central sriker. Samir Nasri
had a quiet game and may be replaced in the
playmaker s role by Mathieu Valbuena.
Franck Ribery will also need to raise his game
with the national team to prove that he fully
deserves the Fifa Ballon d Or. Ribery who strug-
gled to make any meaningful impact in Ukraine,
has been tipped to claim the Fifa accolade after
helping Bayern Munich to the Champions
"Obviously, Ukraine knew how dangerous
Ribery could be," Deschamps said. "They were
very aggressive toward him. They made a lot
of fouls that went unpunished. Ukraine elim-
inated Franck. He had very few chances to take
on his opponent one-on-one. There was always
a midfielder around to provide back-up."
With Laurent Koscielny suspended after his
sending off, Deschamps has a major headache
in defense and must decide who will play
alongside Eric Abidal. With Raphael Varane
struggling with a sore knee, Deschamps must
pick between the inexperienced Mamamdou
Sakho and Bacary Sagna. Sagna plays at right
back for Arsenal but has played center half
"We were shaken over there against a very
committed team who played at a very high
level while we were average," Deschamps said.
"We took a slap and the situation is favorable
for them. It won t be easy. We re obviously
not in a good position. We have to reverse the
trend and believe in this now."
After winning the first round of his duel
with Zlatan Ibrahimovic when he scored the
winner in Portugal s 1-0 win over Sweden,
Cristiano Ronaldo is hopeful he can again steal
the show at the Swedish national stadium on
While Ibrahimovic failed to impress in Lisbon,
Ronaldo dived to glance in a left-wing cross
for his 44th goal in 108 international appear-
ances, and almost added another when he
headed against the crossbar late on.
Portugal, which beat Sweden at home for
the first time in its history, missed automatic
qualification for a major international tourna-
ment for the third time in a row after qualifying
for the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 through
"It was an important goal and it gave us
victory," Ronaldo said. "We could have scored
one or two more goals but this advantage gives
us confidence for the second leg. Nothing is
settled yet. It s 50-50."
All four return playoffs matches take place
today, with Greece in a comfortable position
following its 3-1 win over Romania in the first
leg and Iceland having kept alive its hopes of
reaching a first ever World Cup with a 0-0
home draw against Croatia.
Several friendly matches involving European
powerhouses having already qualified for the
finals in Brazil are also scheduled today, with
England facing bitter rival Germany in Wembley
for the showcase match of the evening.
The Germans will be missing Arsenal play-
maker Mesut Ozil, Philipp Lahm and Manuel
Neuer after coach Joachim Low decided to try
"new tactical variations and personnel." (AP)
Jason Day needed to pause to com-
pose himself several times when he
spoke yesterday about the deaths of
eight of his relatives, including his
grandmother, in Typhoon Haiyan in
"They found, I think, eight of our
relatives. Six of them were children,
and my grandma, and a couple more,"
Day said after practicing at Royal
Melbourne, where he s s scheduled to
play at the World Cup as part of Aus-
tralia s team with Adam Scott begin-
ning Thursday. "It s such a tragedy, I
feel for my mother."
Day said the most difficult part was
not being able to contact his relatives,
many of whom lived in the area
around Tacloban, the capital of hard-
est-hit Leyte province. The typhoon
has killed nearly 4,000 people and
left more than a thousand missing.
"It s been toughest on my mother,
there s been no communication," Day
said as he stood next to the 10th green
at Royal Melbourne. (AP)
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
8 relatives of golfer Jason Day die in typhoon
LONDON---The 2022 World Cup
organisers responded yesterday
to a critical report on the con-
ditions for migrant workers in
Qatar by saying they are formal-
ising welfare standards that con-
tractors must implement.
The rights group Amnesty
International on Sunday con-
demned human rights abuses in
Qatar, cataloging the alleged
exploitation of migrant workers
building the infrastructure
required for football s showpiece
Amnesty cataloged how some
workers in the tiny Gulf nation
are exposed to dangerous working
conditions, poor standards of
accommodation and the non-
payment of wages.
Following discussions about the
report on Sunday, Qatar s World
Cup organisers said they informed
Amnesty about the formation of
a worker welfare committee, and
plan to publish workers welfare
standards by next month.
The organising committee said
the standards will be aligned with
Qatari law and international best
practices and "set clear guidelines
from recruitment to repatriation."
"Compliance with the law and
Q22 s standards will be a con-
tractual obligation for companies
working on Q22 projects and will
be transparently and robustly
monitored through a three-tier
compliance and auditing struc-
ture," the World Cup supreme
committee said in a statement.
The Qataris pointed to Amnesty
acknowledging how they are tak-
ing positive steps to "ensure con-
tractors uphold human rights
"The responsibility for the wel-
fare of workers is shared by all
parties involved in the chain of
contracting including the govern-
ment of Qatar, the governments
of sending countries, recruitment
agencies and the companies that
utilise them," the statement said.
Amnesty s study was published
around a week after Fifa president
Sepp Blatter visited the emir of
Qatar to share Fifa s concern about
working conditions after news-
paper investigations highlighted
alleged human rights abuses and
deaths in the extreme heat.
Fifa wrote to Amnesty to
express hopes that by taking the
World Cup to the Middle East for
the first time it can be the catalyst
for social change, including an
"improvement of labor rights and
conditions for migrant workers."
There have been long-standing
concerns about the lack of safe-
guards for the mainly South Asian
migrant labourers in Qatar and
across the Gulf, including low-
grade housing and employers
withholding the worker passports.
Up to US$220 billion is expect-
ed to be spent to expand the infra-
structure in Qatar before it stages
football s showpiece event,
Amnesty said, although specific
World Cup projects may only
account for US$4 billion of that.
Qatar 2022 plans welfare standards for contractors
France's team warm up during a training session at Stade de France stadium in Saint Denis,
outside Paris, yesterday. France will play Ukraine today, in a World Cup qualifying playoff
second-leg football match. AP PHOTO
France facing tough
challenge against Ukraine
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