Brazil-france Preview: Confederations Cup Hosts Continue Preparations Against Stuttering Bleus
Confidence returning to improving France after 10 goals in 2 games for Deschamps’ team
Replacing Damiao in the squad is Atletico Minieiro’s Jo, formerly of Manchester City, with the forward called up to the Selecao for the first time since the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. Otherwise, coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is to field largely the same XI that grabbed a 2-2 draw against England in Rio de Janeiro last weekend, though Marcelo is expected to displace Filipe Luis in defence. France coach Didier Deschamps is set to overhaul his stuttering side, with only Blaise Matuidi, Dimitri Payet and Mathieu Valbuena likely to remain from Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Uruguay in Montevideo. Joshua Guilavogui of Saint-Etienne is in line for a first international start after making his bow earlier this week, with Hugo Lloris to return ahead of Steve Mandanda. DID YOU KNOW? Brazil have won just one of their last six games under Luiz Felipe Scolari (pictured, right), following their 2-2 draw against England in the newly refurbished Maracana last weekend. The five-time world champions and reigning Confederations Cup holders begin the defence of their title against Japan next Saturday. The Selecao have won just one of their last seven games against France, and have failed to score in the last three encounters. Didier Deschamps’ men are searching for a first win in South America since 2001 following their 1-0 defeat to Uruguay in Montevideo on Wednesday. Les Bleus have won five and drawn two of their nine encounters against Brazil, including the 1998 World Cup final and the 2006 quarter-final. France have lost their last two games in a row, and have just one win in four games in 2013. The two sides last met in an international friendly in Saint-Denis in 2011, France prevailing 1-0 against their South American opponents thanks to Karim Benzema’s winner. Field Report
It’s satisfying to see them playing like this.” It was a far cry from the insipid performance during last month’s 0-0 draw away to Georgia and the woeful first half against Belarus, where France was in total disarray and trailed 1-0 before responding with four second-half goals. In recent years, France has often been jeered by its home fans at matches. But on Friday night, the hard-to-please crowd rose to their feet at Parc des Princes to applaud them off the pitch after a feast of attacking football. “People want to be thrilled and to feel sensations,” Deschamps said. There was another welcome sight: Karim Benzema scoring again for the first time since June last year. After ending his 15-match run without a France goal, Benzema was quick to play it down. “I knew it wouldn’t last 10 years. But once again, the most important thing is the team, not me,” the Real Madrid striker said. “It had been a while. I’m very happy but it’s not just about my goal. You have to talk about the match, how spectacular it was. If it was 6-0 then that’s down to the whole team.” Benzema remains under pressure, however, and in the last two games has lost his starting place to Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud, who scored twice and led the line brilliantly against the Australians with his touch and link play.