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France targets to beat Bosnia

10-11-2011 16:15 BJT

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France needs only draw with Bosnia to qualify

Second place is not an option for France, which needs only a draw Tuesday against Bosnia-Herzegovina to win Group D and automatically qualify for the European Championship.

"We don't think about the playoffs," France midfielder Yann M'Vila said after the Euro 2000 champions beat Albania 3-0 Friday. “We’re holding the top spot and we want to keep it.”

France leads the group with 20 points, one more than Bosnia. Both teams are guaranteed of at least the playoff spot.

"We've reached our minimum goal, which was the playoffs," Bosnia playmaker Miralem Pjanic said. "We have nothing to lose. … With a little bit of luck, we can maybe pull off a miracle."

A draw at Stade de France would be enough to send France to Poland and Ukraine next year. A loss, though, would send the French back into the playoffs.

Two years ago, France took advantage of a handball from Thierry Henry in the build-up to the decisive goal that helped the team beat Ireland 2-1 on aggregate in the World Cup playoffs.

"Our strategy will be to win the match," France coach Laurent Blanc said. "Then, depending on how the match unfolds, we will do our best if we are in a position to protect the result. But we won't prepare to get a draw. That's the best way to lose the match."

Both teams will go into the match high on confidence.

France is unbeaten in its last 14 matches, including friendlies. That streak started with a 2-0 victory in Sarajevo last year.

"We are in a commanding position," France forward Loic Remy said. "It’s up to them to come and get a result. And it’s up to us to give away nothing."

Bosnia has won its last four qualifiers without conceding a goal.

"My team plays better and better," Bosnia coach Safet Susic said. "We're highly confident. I’m becoming more and more optimistic. But I’m realistic, too. It's easier for France. They just need one point."

Blanc hinted that the 4-4-2 formation used against Albania with two center forwards would be dropped for a more cautious system against Bosnia with a lone striker up front.

Team selection could be a concern for France. Injuries forced Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema to withdraw from the squad last week. Barcelona defender Eric Abidal, Manchester United fullback Patrice Evra and Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye are doubtful for Tuesday’s match.

"They will have to be 100 percent fit for that match and not just 50 percent," Blanc said. "An international match is not a pick-up game between friends."

Also Tuesday, Albania hosts Romania. Both can no longer qualify.

Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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