France comfortably saw off the threat of Georgia in their World Cup qualifier in Paris on Friday, securing a 3-1 victory.
Marseille star Mathieu Valbuena was to the fore of many of the hosts’ best moves at the Stade de France, and it was his free-kick that produced the opening goal for Olivier Giroud in first-half stoppage-time.
Valbuena’s delivery was met by a textbook header from the Arsenal forward that picked out the corner of the net.
It was only moments after the restart before the home side added to their tally. Giroud and Franck Ribery combined down the left to set up Valbuena to smash home a terrific shot into the roof of the goal.
A quarter of an hour later it was Ribery’s turn to score from a Valbuena pass.
The Marseille man showed his confidence with a superb cross-field ball that was fired in at the near post by his former team-mate at Stade Velodrome, who easily beat Zurab Khizanishvili.
When Valbuena was withdrawn to be rested for Tuesday’s match against Spain, France allowed their concentration to slip, and Alexander Kobakhidze clinically shot home after a lapse from Mamadou Sakho following Ucha Lobjanidze’s cross.
Although Ribery’s fine solo run on six minutes ended with the winger clipping the top of the crossbar, France would be stifled impressively for much of the first half.
Karim Benzema was particularly profligate, as he scuffed a near post chance wide after fine work for Gael Clichy.
The Real Madrid man looked shorn of confidence throughout, and his failure to beat goalkeeper Giorgi Loria when clean through soon after France’s second typified another poor outing.
Giroud was also guilty of profligacy early on, as he lofted over after another pinpoint pass from Valbuena.
But it was not completely one-way traffic, and had Hugo Lloris not saved well from Aleksandr Amisulashvili or Kobakhidze when the game was still scoreless then the outcome may have been very different.
Nevertheless, Deschamps can feel pleased his side have taken the lead in Group I ahead of Tuesday’s crunch encounter at home to Spain, who are now second, two points behind France following a 1-1 draw with Finland in Gijon.
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