Goals from Franck Ribery and Yohan Cabaye either side of an Olivier Giroud double had the hosts 4-0 up within half an hour and Mathieu Debuchy and Karim Benzema, who scored his first France goal in 1,222 minutes of football, added further gloss to the victory after the break. Newcastle striker Loic Remy made his first appearance for France since March as he was named in the starting XI, while Australia’s side featured six changes from its 6-0 defeat to Brazil last month. France almost took the lead inside four minutes as Mitchell Langerak produced a fine save to deny Giroud from close range. However, just four minutes later it did find an opening goal when Ribery slotted home from the spot after David Carney had handled in the area. The hosts continued to dictate in the early stages, and they soon doubled their advantage, Giroud latching on to Ribery’s pull back before lifting a sublime finish over Langerak and into the bottom corner. Australia offered little as an attacking force in the opening half, and it conceded its third after just 27 minutes as Giroud tapped in at the end of a sublime move between Ribery and Samir Nasri. France continued to surge forward and duly added a fourth on the half-hour mark through Cabaye, who lashed a powerful finish into the bottom corner from the edge of the area after meeting Ribery’s layoff. Raphael Varane and Cabaye went close before the break, but Australia did not heed those warnings as Debuchy capitalized on poor defensive work from Australia to make it 5-0 after 47 minutes with a brilliant left-footed volley. France refused to relent and dished out further punishment shortly after, substitute Benzema turning home Ribery’s left-wing cross to score his first goal for the national team since June 2012. Tim Cahill created Australia’s only chance as he curled over from distance, while Remy, Nasri and substitute Moussa Sissoko all went close at the other end, but it mattered not as France coasted to an easy win. Follow GOAL.COM on Goal.com Man of the Match Goal.com Flop of the Match Top & Flop Global Ranking
“There is also an emergency at a regional level because there is a risk of spillover. We might witness religious conflict,” he said, in comments translated from French. There have already been sectarian clashes in the conflict that has driven more than 400,000 people from their homes, fleeing violence including murder and rape. France has about 400 troops in the capital, Bangui, and sources have told Reuters their numbers could be increased to around 750. However, Paris is reluctant to be left to deal with another African hotspot after it felt allies such as the United States were hesitant to help it halt a rebel advance by al Qaeda-linked insurgents in Mali earlier this year. The Central African Republic is geographically at the center of what some strategists have called an “arc of insecurity” of Islamist fighters that cuts from Kenya and Somalia in east Africa across to Mauritania in the west. Hollande said there was need for African governments to develop a standby force to deal with conflicts as they arise. The African Union has deployed about 2,500 troops. But its resources are limited, prompting Paris to seek a U.N. Security Council mandate that would turn the operation into a U.N. peacekeeping force ultimately supported by French troops.
Confidence returning to improving France team
Although Australia defended poorly, offering France too much space, the speed of thought and the fluidity of the passing gave Deschamps plenty of reason for optimism heading into next month’s World Cup playoffs. France is destined to finish second in Group I behind World Cup winner Spain, which needs only a point against Georgia in its final qualifier Tuesday to send France into the playoffs. “Whoever plays us won’t be smiling, either,” Deschamps said Saturday. “The goals came about thanks to some good build-up play, movement and speed – everything clicked. 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.
Soccer-France don’t have Georgia on their minds, says Lloris
World and European champions Spain have a three-point lead over second-placed France and simply need to avoid defeat to qualify for next year’s finals in Brazil. “Spain did the job on Friday (by beating Belarus 2-1) and we don’t expect them to fail tomorrow,” captain Hugo Lloris told a news conference at the Stade de France ahead of his team’s final match against out-of-contention Finland. “Yes, we already have the playoffs next month in mind.” France coach Didier Deschamps echoed the thoughts of skipper Lloris. “You have to be realistic,” said Deschamps. “There’s a very high probability that we will be in the playoffs.” France crushed Australia 6-0 in a friendly on Friday but the coach said he was expecting a much more difficult game against Finland. “It will be tougher tomorrow, they have been preparing for this match for 10 days and I don’t expect them to come out just for a stroll,” added Deschamps. (Reporting by Gregory Blachier, editing by Tony Jimenez) Sports & Recreation COMMENTARY | When Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer left Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, his team was up 5-1 and the Boston Red Sox looked absolutely lost at the plate. Yahoo Contributor Network We are six games into the 2013 NFL season and there remain only two teams with a zero in the loss column. Yahoo Contributor Network COMMENTARY | In previous pieces I have written (one asking the Chicago Cubs to not sign Jeff Samradzija, the other showing disappointment in Samardzija’s 2013 season), I’ve been extremely critical of Jeff Samardzija. Yahoo Contributor Network