France coach Didier Deschamps said today his team must concentrate on their FIFA World Cup™ qualifying fixture against Georgia, despite a clash with Spain to come just four days later.
France will be looking to continue their unbeaten start to their qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil in the double-header at the Stade de France, with Georgia to come first on Friday, 22 March before European and world champions Spain come calling on 26 March. Deschamps knows that the heavyweight showdown with the Spaniards will attract most of the attention but also knows that beating Georgia is arguably even more important.
"In our qualifying campaign, for the match against Spain to mean anything, we need first of all to win against Georgia," Deschamps said. "For the fans, it is as if the match against Georgia has already been won. We are not going to say that Georgia are one of the best nations in Europe but they have good players and are aggressive. It depends more on us and on our attitude."
For the match against Spain to mean anything, we need first of all to win against Georgia.
The former France captain also knows that there will still be work for Les Bleus to do even if they manage to take a maximum six points from the two matches. "Even in the best possible scenario, nothing will be decided," Deschamps added. "The best we can hope for is to be in the best position in the group."
France began their campaign with a 1-0 win in Finland and a 3-1 home victory against Belarus last autumn before a stoppage-time goal by Olivier Giroud earned them a 1-1 draw in Spain in October. The point gained was just reward for a fine second-half performance in Madrid, and Deschamps knows what to expect from Vicente del Bosque's side in the return.
"They will cause us a lot of problems, as they do for every team," said Deschamps. "In the last game, the first half was difficult, very difficult at times. But we caused them a lot of problems in the second half. Spain are very strong when they attack and struggle more when they have to defend. We need to be capable of forcing them to defend."
Deschamps will name his squad for both games on Thursday, 14 March.