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Deschamps hails match-winner Diaby

Abou Diaby was praised by the France coach Didier Deschamps following his match-winning performance against Finland.

• Limbert: The Diaby debate

Diaby, 26, has been hampered by injuries throughout his career, forcing him to make only five appearances for Arsenal last season, but his impressive start to the current campaign earned him a recall to the France squad.

His recent performances meant Dechamps had no qualms about starting the midfielder against Finland, with the manager having his faith repaid as Diaby scored the only goal in a 1-0 win for France.

"He is a boy with a lot of qualities, but I knew that. He is a complete midfielder,'' Deschamps explained.

Diaby himself added in L'Equipe: "It was a good return, I was pleased. I hope this will be the real return.''

Rio Mavuba, who played alongside the Arsenal man in midfielder, described him as "indispensable for the France squad''.

The Lille player added: "He has again proved his qualities and that he can dictate the tempo. I hope he carries on like that.''

It was a solid start to the qualifying campaign for France, as they collected the three points, and Mavuba believes this is the perfect platform to build on.

"It was important to start well,'' he said. "We are in a difficult group with Spain, who do not often slip up, so we have to win against teams like this.

"We feel this squad has a lot of scope to develop. We have to repeat the first-half performance.''

Deschamps added: "It's never easy to win away from home, especially against a team who showed more than we expected.

We controlled the game well, we were hardly ever troubled in the first half - much more so in the second when they brought on (Njazi) Kuqi.

We did not look after the ball so well and we made some mistakes, and Finland went more direct and had more of an attacking threat. But we got the result. The team showed the right spirit.''


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