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Latest update : 2012-09-12

France led by Didier Deschamps maintained their winning start to their World Cup qualifying campaign on Tuesday when they overcame Belarus 3-1 at the Stade de France in Paris. But tougher challenges lie ahead for Les Bleus.

France sat top of their World Cup qualifying group on Wednesday after securing a comfortable victory over Belarus at the Stade de France in Paris.

Second-half goals from Etienne Capoue, Christophe Jallet and Franck Ribery were enough to see off a Belarus side ranked 76th in the world, who scored what proved to be a consolation goal through Anton Putilo.

The win followed Friday’s 1-0 victory against Finland in Helsinki and means Didier Deschamps’ team have taken maximum points from their first two qualifying matches for Brazil 2014.

French coach Didier Deschamps, who took over from Laurent Blanc after an underwhelming Euro 2012 campaign, was pleased to have made a winning start to his reign.

"It's always a very good evening when you win," said Deschamps.

"And it's becoming rarer and rarer to score three goals at the highest level, so you have to savour it."

World champions lie in wait

However, Deschamps’ next opponents are expected to provide a sterner test of his managerial skills.

On October 16 France travel to Madrid where they will face double European champions and World Cup holders Spain, who struggled to a 1-0 win against Georgia in Tbilisi on Tuesday.

With only the group winners guaranteed World Cup qualification, the clash could go along way to deciding whether France will line up in Brazil 2014.

"Spain are a great team but they only won 1-0 in Georgia," Deschamps said.

"It's difficult for everyone. We should savour these six points, but it's a reward for the general spirit. The players feel good together.”

It’s a stark contrast to the French teams of recent years, which have been plagued by infighting and player discontent.

Pragmatic approach pays off

Tuesday’s win over Belarus was far from inspiring and typified the pragmatic approach that has marked Deschamps managerial style.

French sports daily L’Equipe, which has often been an outspoken critic of Les Bleus in the past, accepted that points on the board was all that mattered at this stage.

“Next autumn, at the end of the qualification campaign, all that matters will be points. We won’t remember whether last night’s match was flat and uninspiring,” wrote L’Equipe’s Didier Braun.

The columnist acknowledged other European heavyweights also struggled in their own qualifying matches. England only managed a draw at home to Ukraine, thanks to a late Frank Lampard penalty.

“The result was still better than the English, who for an hour struggled for a draw and ended up happy with the minimum against Ukraine,” Braun said.

Date created : 2012-09-12

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