Flamboyant France Heads To Playoffs On A High Note

“I’m frightened, I don’t speak Albanian. My life is in France. I don’t want to go to school here because I don’t speak any of the local languages. I had freedom there. I do not want to stay here,” Diprani told AFP news agency in the Kosovo town of Mitrovica, where the family has been given temporary housing by local authorities. “If there is a God we will be aboard the first plane back to France.” The ministry said the family repeatedly refused to leave and says that they met the girl’s school bus when it returned from the field trip. Mixed reactions Interior Minister Manuel Valls defended the deportation of the Dibrani family as legal, but has ordered officials to review the handling of the case. Confronted with an angry backlash from the left of his party, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault promised the family would be brought back to France if the girl’s rights were found to have been infringed. “The Interior Minister today launched an administrative investigation into the conditions of this expulsion to verify if all the rules were respected,” he said. Opposition lawmakers backed Valls and warned him that a decision to reverse the deportation would send out a message that illegal immigrants were welcome in France. “The law has to be applied and in this case an expulsion order had twice been upheld by the judicial system,” said Christian Jacob, leader of the UMP, a center-right parliamentary group. There is the law but there are also values on which the left must never compromise Claude Bartolone, Speaker of the National Assembly Claude Bartolone, the speaker of the National Assembly, underlined the extent of the concerns in the Socialist camp over the case. “There is the law but there are also values on which the left must never compromise,” he said in a tweet. “School has to be a sanctuary, we have to retain our principles based on rights and humanity,” said Education Minister Vincent Peillon. The controversy follows an outcry last month over remarks by Valls in which he said most of the 20,000 Roma in France had no intention of integrating and should be sent back to their countries of origin.

France beat Finland but finish second

But on this form, no team will want to face France, especially with the way Franck Ribery is playing and now that strikers Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud are both scoring. “We used the ball well, we used the width well with our fullbacks and we controlled possession,” Deschamps said. “In terms of our attacking play, our presence in front of goal, we had an enormous amount of possession. We could have scored more as we created a lot of chances.” After five matches without scoring, major doubts were raised about Deschamps’ team, but the turnaround has been spectacular since the dire first half against Belarus last month. France woke up in that game and went on to win 4-2, then thrashed Australia 6-0 on Friday night. “We are much more in control than we were before,” Deschamps said. “The players are in really good shape at the moment, as well. I hope nothing happens to any of them and that they’ll all be here next month.” In the past two games, Giroud and Benzema have scored twice – with Giroud also contributing to France’s second goal on Tuesday night when his header led to an own goal – while Ribery has been simply unstoppable. “All of the forwards showed good movement,” Deschamps said. “They have a lot of freedom in attack and their understanding was generally very good.” Having won the treble with Bayern Munich last season, Ribery says he wants to win the Golden Ball and is clearly on a mission. He scored twice against Belarus, netted one and set up three against Australia, and almost tore the back of the net out with a fantastic early strike against Finland.

France beat Finland 3-0 in its last Group game, but Spain’s win over Georgia ensured Les Bleus were consigned to second, while Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal teammates finished a point behind Fabio Capello’s Russia in Group F. The one UEFA group runner-up that will miss out on a playoff spot due to its worst record against the first-, third-, fourth- and fifth-placed sides is Denmark due to there only being eight spots up for grabs. Group B’s race for second between four teams – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Armenia and the Danes – went down to the wire, and the way the countries took points off each other worked against them in the end. Sweden was the only team heading into the final round of matches to be guaranteed to be in the playoffs, with Germany a distant Group C winner, no teams challenging for second place and the bottom-placed team already decided. The second team to know its playoff fate was Greece, as Bosnia and Herzegovina won to deny the Euro 2004 winner automatic entry to the World Cup. Croatia already bagged second place in Group A and was able to avoid missing out on the playoffs despite losing 2-0 to Scotland in its final game on Tuesday. Iceland, which has never reached a major international tournament in its footballing history, will be delighted to have a crack at World Cup 2014 qualification after Slovenia was defeated 1-0 by Group E winners Switzerland, meaning the Scandinavians’ 1-1 draw with Norway was enough to finish second. Turkey’s 2-0 defeat to Netherlands ensured that Romania finished ahead of its Group D runner-up challengers, and Fatih Terim’s men slipped from second to fourth, with Hungary hopping into third with its 2-0 win over Andorra. The final spot on Tuesday went to Ukraine, which hammered San Marino 8-0 but was pipped to first place in Group H by England. The draw for the two-legged ties will take place Oct. 21 in Zurich. The seeded sides are Croatia, Portugal, Greece and Ukraine, with France, Sweden, Romania and Iceland set to be the unseeded four sides. Sports & Recreation

France, Portugal among eight nations set for UEFA World Cup qualifying playoffs

But Spain’s defeat of Georgia left Les Bleus second in Group I and destined for Monday’s play-off draw for the ties in November. Having scored ten times in their last two games compared with 11 in the previous 13, France picked up where they left off in the 6-0 thrashing of Australia on Friday. The match in Paris was eight minutes old when Ribery, running along the box from the left, launched a sudden effort which bounced in off the crossbar. The goal reflected France’s early dominance although the Finns provided a threat for Hugo Lloris on several occasions through Roman Eremenko and Alexander Ring. Finland goalkeeper Niki Maenpaa’s thigh saved the visitors five minutes before half-time as Giroud sensed his chance from close range. Maenpaa’s post was the saviour seconds later from another Giroud attempt. Teemu Puuki showed quality in the second half, shooting wide after a fine team move. However, France came back to prominence towards the end and doubled their lead when Mathieu Debuchy’s long cross was met by Giroud’s far-post header, though Toivio was credited with the final touch. Yohan Cabaye hit an upright before fellow substitute Benzema struck the third three minutes from time with a left-foot volley following Ribery’s centre. UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.