Nicholas McGee Comments API France heads into its final qualifier with Finland knowing that the team is unlikely to secure automatic passage to the 2014 World Cup. With a three-point gap separating them from Group I leader Spain, Didier Deschamps’ men need not only a win on Tuesday but also for Georgia to inflict a first defeat on la Roja in World Cup qualification since March 1993, in order to top the group. But even that could still not be enough for France, which also requires a four-goal swing in goal difference to ensure its place at next year’s tournament in Brazil. However, although France looks destined to finish second, Deschamps’ outfit will be eager to gain momentum ahead of a prospective playoff. Les Bleus hammered Australia 6-0 in a friendly on Friday and will be confident of clinching victory against a Finland side that has never before beaten them. Striker Olivier Giroud goes into the game on the back of a double against Australia, while Karim Benzema will be out to find the net again after ending a 16-month goal drought for his country in the same game. However, Finland – which has already been eliminated from World Cup contention – should provide stern opposition at the Stade de France, having tasted defeat in just two of its last 11 outings. A goal from Roman Eremenko gave Mixu Paatelainen’s men a 1-0 win against Georgia on Friday, but the team will need to be more clinical in front of goal if it is to end its unsuccessful campaign on a high. Finland has scored just five goals in qualification, with midfielder Kasper Hamalainen and striker Teemu Pukki, who have scored two goals each, accounting for the majority of those strikes. Paatelainen’s side has lost twice in qualifying despite a poor record in front of goal and gained an impressive result back in March when it held Spain to a 1-1 draw. The visiting team has conceded six goals in its seven qualifiers and will need to maintain its defensive strength if it is to end its wait for a win over a team that has scored 10 goals in its last two matches.
France to Debate Extension for EDF in Amortizing Atomic Reactors
The minister, on France Inter radio today, denied a Journal du Dimanche report that a decision had been made to lengthen the period to 50 years from 40 years. Debate will take place that will be based on technical considerations, Moscovici said. EDF spokeswoman Carole Trivi declined to comment. A change, allowing EDF to reduce provisions for dismantling installations, was mooted by Environment Minister Philippe Martin last month as a way for nuclear power to contribute to developing renewables. The extension would add value to the biggest nuclear operator by improving its earnings and cutting debt, according to Louis Boujard, an analyst at Banco BPI SA. EDF rose 2.2 percent to 25.05 euros by the close in Paris. The impact of a lifespan extension would be positive on recurring earnings potential of EDF and would trigger a further deleveraging of the company, Boujard said in a note. Extending to 51 years would add 5 euros a share to the company, he said. The valuation would increase by 13.8 euros a share with an extension to 50 years, Martin Young, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets , said in a report last month, though that effect would be lowered by benefit sharing with the state or customers. Increasing Renewables The nuclear activity of EDF through amortizations that are already over long periods will provide sums that could be used by the state as shareholder, Minister Martin said. Funds may help boost French energy efficiency and renewables, he said.
Didier Deschamps’ side, after scoring just four goals in seven games all year, has now scored 10 in their last two. This sudden glut of goals gives the 44-year-old some selection dilemmas, not least going forward, as Les Bleus seek to secure themselves the best possible position going into the World Cup qualifying play-offs. Admittedly, France do find themselves at a disadvantage around the play-off seedings given that they were drawn in Group I, which only boasts five teams. The French Football Federation have indicated via President Noel Le Graet to RMC Radio ( ESPN FC ) that they will contest the decision over seedings. However, Deschamps side has failed to score in two of their seven qualification matches (against Spain and Georgia) since he took over from Laurent Blanc. They have also played in seven other friendly matches during that time, including five where they have failed to score a single goal. If it did not look so bleak in qualification terms, friendlies against the likes of Brazil, Uruguay and Japan have exposed the weaknesses of the current generation. Add that to playing two fewer qualification games in Group I than the rest of their likely play-off opponents and you can understand why France will almost certainly go into the draw unseeded. Scoring six goals against a weak Australia side may be morale boosting, but those goals need to be translated on to the competitive stage for it to indicate any real progress. Ahead of the clash with Finland, Deschamps has a number of considerations. David Rogers/Getty Images Firstly, Karim Benzema, as well as Olivier Giroud, found the net against the Socceroos. Although that is a big boost for the team, it is also what Deschamps has been desperate to see happen since Benzema embarked on a hideous run of 1,222 minutes without a single international strike. The French tactician came in for some fierce criticism at times for putting his faith in the Real Madrid man instead of Giroud. Fridays goal at the Parc des Princes may well feel like vindication in a way for Deschamps. There is a chance that, despite his two goals, the Arsenal man might have to make way for Benzema given that his coach has demonstrated that he considers the 25-year-old part of his strongest XI. Although it was a major boost to see Benzema find the net, Les Bleus first-half showing without him on the field suggested that they would be just as dangerous sticking with Giroud. David Rogers/Getty Images Benzema was not the only player to have answered his critics against Australia.