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France aim for top spot

Dider Deschamps and Yohan Cabaye want France to finish top of their World Cup qualifying group and avoid the play-offs - even though they have to face reigning champions Spain twice.

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France have lost their last three games against Spain, who knocked them out of Euro 2012 in the quarter-finals, and their two World Cup qualifying clashes take place in October and March.

Midfielder Cabaye and coach Deschamps believe France must win their opening two qualifiers, against Finland and Belarus, in order to go into the first Spain game full of confidence.

"We'll have to give everything to not have regrets," Newcastle midfielder Cabaye said. "We have to fight with the idea of getting first place in the group.

"We'll have to be at 200% during both games against Spain if we want to beat them - but we have two games to win against Finland and Belarus to put ourselves in a good position before playing Spain."

Deschamps echoed those thoughts, saying: "The goal is qualification. For this, we have to finish in first place. I don't want we start saying we'll be second.

"But today, it is useless to speak about Spain. We have two opponents waiting for us. It is up to us to negotiate these two steps well. The aim is to start in the best way - winning on Friday in Finland."

France will play their second match against Belarus in the Stade de France on Tuesday.


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