France will look to the
rejuvenated Abou Diaby to provide more inspiration when they
host Belarus in their second World Cup Group I qualifier on
The midfielder missed more than a season of international
football through injury and his comeback performance against
Finland on Friday in which he scored the game's only goal showed
"I hope he will go on like that for a long time because he
is essential to the team," said fellow midfielder Rio Mavuba.
How long will this last is often the question with Diaby, a
player whose career has been plagued by injuries.
Last season, he played only four games with Arsenal and
missed the Euro 2012 finals because he was not fully fit.
"I hope it is the good comeback. Last year was not easy, I
worked hard during the off season to come back strong. I hope I
will not be injured this year," said Diaby, who only won 15 caps
since his first appearance in 2007.
Diaby's pace and poise proved lethal against Finland and
Coach Didier Deschamps did not expect any less.
"I did not need to be reassured because I have been seeing
him play at Arsenal. He has a lot of qualities," said Deschamps.
"He is an all-round midfielder. He wins the ball, but also
carries it forward very well and he can score. Obviously I
prefer to have him at my disposal."
Diaby could make up once again for Karim Benzema's lack of
impact in the box as the Real Madrid forward has been playing
more as a playmaker than a proper striker since last June's Euro
"We need to be more present in front of goal," said
Deschamps, who asked the wing players to move to number nine
when Benzema, who set up Diaby for the goal in Finland, finds
himself in a deeper position.
Deschamps also has the option of fielding Olivier Giroud,
who trained normally on Saturday after missing the Finland game
because of a muscle problem, alongside Benzema against Belarus.
"I'm expected to be more in the penalty area. Well, that's
what I'm going to do against Belarus," Benzema told French TV
channel TF1 on Sunday.
Belarus, who beat Les Bleus at the Stade de France in their
opening Euro 2012 qualifying game in 2011, started their
campaign with a 1-0 defeat by Georgia.
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