France boss Didier Deschamps, while coaching Marseille. France faces Finland in World Cup 2014 qualifying on September 7, 2012. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
France will look to get their World Cup qualifying campaign off to a good start against Finland
France and Finland kick-off their roads to World Cup 2014 in Brazil with their opening match in Group I. France is the obvious favorite in this match, with considerably more firepower at new head coach Didier Deschamps' disposal.
There is a window of opportunity though for Finland as Deschamps faces a fairly sizable injury list ahead of this game, led by Mathieu Debuchy and Bacary Sagna who've both struggled with their fitness this season. PSG captain Christophe Jallet will likely get the start at right back, with either Mamadou Sakho or Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa alongside Adil Rami in the middle of the defense with Laurent Koscielny having only played one minute with Arsenal this year. The only other question mark is who starts up front between Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud.
Deschamps will also be no doubt annoyed that his captain and starting goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has played limited minutes as well after being transferred to Tottenham.
Mixu Paatelainen begins his first qualifying campaign as the head coach of Finland facing the likely insurmountable task of finishing ahead of either France and current World Cup and European Champion Spain. The most recognizable face in his squad is Alexander Ring from Borussia Monchengladbach.
If Finland hopes to complete in this group, a result against France would be a good way to start
Match Date/Time: Friday, 2:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 p.m. local
Venue: Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki, Finland
TV: Sportsnet World Plus (Canada)
Online: ESPN3 (U.S.)