Photograph: N. Le Gouic/N. Le Gouic/Actionplus France believe the seeding system is unfair for the World Cup playoffs in November and plan to ask football’s ruling body Fifa to review it ahead of next week’s draw. The World and European champions Spain are three points ahead in Group I and host Georgia in their final qualifier on Tuesday when second-placed France, who look certain to go through to the playoffs, entertain Finland. The play-off seeds will be determined by Fifa rankings and 25th-placed France face a likely meeting with another big footballing nation. Les Bleus believe the system is flawed because fewer ranking points were available in the five-nation Group I while the other sections all contained six teams. “We’re going to contact Fifa,” the French Federation’s president Noel Le Graet told the radio station RMC. “There is a little injustice between the group of five and the groups of six. Our rivals from other groups have been able to score more points … that’s a fact.”
In addition to his well-taken goals, Giroud’s excellent touch and link play is likely to give him the edge over Benzema to wear the No. 9 jersey. Benzema ended his 15-match run without a France goal by turning in Franck Ribery’s cross from the left early in the second half. “We used the width well, we passed quickly and there was a lot of movement,” France coach Didier Deschamps said. “That helps you play well, because when you take a touch too many it tends to slow the play down. But we were always on the move and technically we made very few mistakes.” Ribery scored his third goal in the past two games to give France the lead after eight minutes, and then set up a further two in the first half to underline his status as France’s most influential player. “He’s one of the best players in the world, and the more he gets on the ball the better,” Deschamps said. Midfielder Yohan Cabaye and right back Mathieu Debuchy, both Newcastle players, added the other goals. “They move the ball so well and spread the game that it became really difficult for us,” Australia coach Holger Osieck said. “We lost by a big margin, but you also have to consider the quality of the French team.” After Giroud missed a good chance when being set up by Ribery – the Arsenal striker shot straight at goalkeeper Mitch Langerak – France scored a penalty when David Carney was judged to have handled the ball from Ribery’s cross. Ribery netted his 15th international goal with a rising shot over Langerak, who guessed to the right. Giroud got his first of the night eight minutes later. He was off balance and the ball was slightly behind him when he received Ribery’s pass, but he showed great technique to delicately clip a curling shot over Langerak’s head for his fourth international goal. He got his fifth 10 minutes later, neatly side-footing the ball past Langerak after Ribery and Nasri had carved open Australia’s defense with one-touch passing and Nasri pulled the ball back perfectly from the left. Australia was in total disarray as France poured forward in a blur of pass and move that must have had Deschamps smiling from the sidelines and Cabaye made it 4-0 with only 30 minutes played.
France’s Hollande: Central African Republic troubles could spill over
“There is a political emergency because there is no state,” Hollande said as he addressed reporters in Pretoria alongside South African President Jacob Zuma. “There is also an emergency at a regional level because there is a risk of spillover. We might witness religious conflict,” he said, in comments translated from French. There have already been sectarian clashes in the conflict that has driven more than 400,000 people from their homes, fleeing violence including murder and rape. France has about 400 troops in the capital, Bangui, and sources have told Reuters their numbers could be increased to around 750. However, Paris is reluctant to be left to deal with another African hotspot after it felt allies such as the United States were hesitant to help it halt a rebel advance by al Qaeda-linked insurgents in Mali earlier this year. The Central African Republic is geographically at the center of what some strategists have called an “arc of insecurity” of Islamist fighters that cuts from Kenya and Somalia in east Africa across to Mauritania in the west. Hollande said there was need for African governments to develop a standby force to deal with conflicts as they arise. The African Union has deployed about 2,500 troops. But its resources are limited, prompting Paris to seek a U.N. Security Council mandate that would turn the operation into a U.N. peacekeeping force ultimately supported by French troops. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who visited Bangui on Sunday, said the U.N. resolution was expected around December. While South Africa’s Zuma said he agreed intervention was needed, he stopped short of saying Pretoria would send more troops.