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Football | World Cup 2014

French duo return for Belarus clash

France midfielders Blaise Matuidi and Paul Pogba will return to the starting line-up for Tuesday's 2014 World Cup qualifier in Belarus, coach Didier Deschamps announced on Monday.

"If I take them, it's to make them play," the France boss said of the midfield duo before confirming: "They will be starters from the beginning."

The pair missed Friday's disappointing 0-0 draw in Georgia through suspension but are set to resume their midfield partnership in Gomel at the expense of Josuha Guilavogui and Moussa Sissoko.

Speaking about Pogba's return, Deschamps praised the 20-year-old's ability, saying: "He is someone who works hard and who has a good state of mind.

"You always have to be careful when they are young, but I know full well that he doesn't have much room for error at the club he plays," Deschamps said of the Juventus player.

"We're not going to turn him into a phenomenon, he's a young player but with many qualities.

"He has athletic abilities that are above the norm and the technical ease that causes him to be dangerous going forward. He has very interesting capabilities in this part of the game."

Meanwhile, Franck Ribery trained alone on Monday, with the Uefa player of last season struggling with a buttock injury.

"We will see how it goes today (Monday) and I will take a decision tomorrow (Tuesday) after speaking with him (Ribery) to see how he feels," said Deschamps.

"He still feels pain, a considerable discomfort. We will see after today's efforts how he reacts and how he feels. We still have time with the medical staff to treat him today and tomorrow.

"Whether Franck plays or doesn't play isn't insignificant because he's capable of doing what he's done and producing the goods for the French team."

Asked whether misfiring forward Karim Benzema, without a goal for more than 20 hours, would start Tuesday, Deschamps replied: "You will see tomorrow."


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