|Football: France firing blanks as Spain clash looms|
15 October 2012
If France are to take anything from next week’s pivotal World Cup qualifier against Spain, Didier Deschamps may have to reconfigure an attack that has scored only four times in four matches.
France were dominant in Friday’s friendly with Japan but their inability to convert that territorial control into goals cost them when Shinji Kagawa netted in the 88th minute to give the visitors a smash-and-grab 1-0 win. As Deschamps confessed afterwards, the home side only had themselves to blame.
The corner count read 10-0 to France before the hour mark had even arrived, but although they recorded seven attempts on target, not once was visiting goal-keeper Eiji Kawashima really exposed. It is starting to feel like something of a recurring theme and Deschamps knows that they cannot afford to be so profligate against Spain.
“We had lots of opportunities against Japan but we did not take them,” said the France coach. “I don’t think we’ll have as many against Spain. We’ll need to defend well and, when we create chances, we’ll have to be more clinical.”
While France were toiling against Japan, Spain were assembling a comfortable 4-0 win over Belarus that means they will go into tomorrow’s game in Madrid in first place in Group I. Given the context, a draw seems an acceptable objective for France, but Deschamps may need something to click in his forward line if the visitors are to leave the Spanish capital without another chastening defeat.
Argentina’s Higuain faces injury fight
Meanwhile, Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain is a doubt for Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Chile tomorrow after injuring his hip in Friday’s 3-0 victory over Uruguay.
Higuain, who is the qualifying competition’s joint-top scorer with six goals, badly bruised his left hip during the latter stages of La Albiceleste’s triumph over the reigning South American champions in Mendoza, which led to him being replaced on 83 minutes by Palmeiras’ Hernan Barcos.
Argentina are top of the qualifying group with 17 from eight matches, while Chile are fifth, five points adrift.
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