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France, Italy seek to end 2012 on a high

By Football News



France coach Didier Deschamps wants his side to build on their 1-1 draw with world champions Spain when they meet Italy away on Wednesday.

The French are level with Spain in their World Cup qualifying Group I after clawing their way back in Madrid courtesy of Olivier Giroud's stoppage-time strike.

Now, Deschamps' side play Italy in a friendly in Parma in what will be their last fixture this season.

"It's our last match before next year. Even if this is the same season. The next calendar year," Deschamps said.

"So, yes, there were a lot of good things with this second half and this result in Spain.

"Having continuity, it's not going to be the same context, the same team.

"There are no qualification points to take, but the commitment of the players has to be important, even total to get, as always, the best result."

Defender Patrice Evra sensed the Spain result had done a world of good for the side's confidence but warned his team-mates against complacency.

"French people were proud of us (after the Spain game)," Evra said.

"But overall, I saw the reaction in the locker room of all the players. We were really satisfied with the work we did, even if we are aware that we did not win the match, we only drew.

"But we can't produce such a performance and after play bad. Now people want to see the French team as they were against Spain."

Italy will field a youthful looking side for the clash, with the likes of Stephan El Shaarway, Antonio Candreva and Marco Verratti set for a start.

Coach Cesare Prandelli has backed the next generation to make an impact.

"The younger players may make mistakes or do things that need to be corrected. But tomorrow I'd like to see the guys showing their personality on the pitch," he said.

"(Andrea) Pirlo and (Gianluigi) Buffon will be on the bench - sooner or later they have to realise that there are also other players and I have to know if we have the right players to replace them in case of emergency."