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FIFA World Cup Qualifying Preview: Georgia v France
04 Sep, 2013 7:38 PM GMT
France must bounce back from a damaging defeat to Spain when they face Georgia in FIFA World Cup qualifying on Friday.
Laurent Blanc's men occupied top spot going into their home fixture against the reigning world champions in March, and only needed to match the draw they earned in Spain to ensure matters stayed that way.
However, a Pedro goal gave the visitors victory at the Stade de France and ensured that they, rather than France, are now in pole position to automatically qualify for Brazil 2014.
France can still, of course, wrestle that position away from the Spaniards, but will need to capitalise on any slip-ups by putting away the likes of Georgia in their remaining fixtures.
Temuri Ketsbaia's men have picked up just four points from their five outings thus far, having beaten Belarus and earned an impressive away draw against Finland, and are likely to struggle against Blanc's side.
The last meeting between the sides ended in a 3-1 win for France, with Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Valbuena and Franck Ribery grabbing the goals for the hosts in Paris.
Arsenal forward Giroud is in fine form coming into this game, and has notched three goals in as many Premier League outings this term - including in a 1-0 north London derby win over Tottenham at the weekend.
Blanc will hope the former Montpellier forward can propel his team to victory again, with the possibility of securing the Group I play-off spot still available even should Spain win their remaining fixtures.
Georgia, meanwhile, will look to avoid finishing bottom, with Belarus currently holding that unwanted distinction by virtue of goal difference.