France seals first win for Deschamps
Didier Deschamps won his first competitive match as France coach on Friday, with Abou Diaby scoring in a 1-0 victory over Finland to open qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
Diaby shot the ball into the corner of the net past goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky in the 20th minute after Finland midfielder Alexander Ring had lost the ball, allowing France forward Karim Benzema to play it through for his teammate.
Benzema had a chance to increase the lead not long afterward, latching on to a through ball from winger Franck Ribery but shooting straight at Hradecky.
It was Diaby's first competitive match for France since June 2011, having missed most of last season with an injury.
''I hadn't played for France for a long time,'' the Arsenal midfielder said. ''I'm happy to be back. It's a huge satisfaction to get the win.''
France dominated the early exchanges without creating any clear chances, with Ribery orchestrating much of the visitors' play.
''We had good chances at the start of the second half, but Finland's goalkeeper made some good saves,'' Deschamps said. ''Toward the end we were pushing everyone forward, and we found ourselves in a bit of trouble. You're never out of trouble until you get that second goal. It's good to win.''
On Tuesday in Group I, France hosts Belarus while Finland travels to Czech Republic for a friendly.