However, Spain’s win over Georgia guaranteed progression from Group I for the defending World Cup holders and forced France into the play-off lottery. France started the final round of qualifiers three points behind Spain and needing both results to go their way as well as a swing in goal difference if they were to claim the automatic spot. The hosts signalled their attacking intentions from the outset, Laurent Koscielny and Paul Pogba both having efforts before France went ahead in the eighth minute with a stunning strike from Ribery. The Bayern Munich winger unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top right-hand corner of the goal from 25 yards giving Finland goalkeeper Niki Maenpaa no chance at all. Perparim Hetemaj shot wide for the visitors but Olivier Giroud headed over and Mathieu Debuchy fired wide while Maenpaa did well to parry Mathieu Valbuena’s header as France attacked. However, Finland weathered the storm and almost equalised when Kasper Hamalainen’s shot from the centre of the area was only saved by the feet of France keeper Hugo Lloris. The visitors then forced a corner which was taken by Roman Eremenko and although Debuchy cleared, Alexander Ring pounced to fire a superb right-footed volley narrowly over the bar from 20 yards. ROAD LESS TAKEN Check out all the best action shots from FIFA’s World Cup qualifying. Valbuena curled a shot over the bar and shortly after was denied by Maenpaa after he had been found by Ribery. France came within inches of doubling their lead in first-half injury time when Samir Nasri’s 25-yard effort hit the post which proved to be the last meaningful action before the interval. Debuchy’s volley was parried by Maenpaa minutes after the re-start before the Newcastle defender’s long-range effort was comfortably gathered by the goalkeeper. Roman Eremenko’s shot was easily saved by Lloris with both teams firing in from distance. The game had fallen a little flat and with Spain getting a second goal over Georgia, there was little France could realistically do to affect their situation.
Spain qualifies for World Cup, France into playoff
A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. 7 To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs France’s retirement reform: Too little, too late? USATODAY 3:22 p.m. EDT October 14, 2013 French President Francois Hollande French President Hollande managed to changed the pension system by working with unions Still, they plan protests Tuesday And critics says he succeeded by making small changes that won’t achieve what’s necessary SHARE 11 CONNECT 26 TWEET 7 COMMENTEMAILMORE PARIS (AP) President Francois Hollande has managed to do what was once thought impossible: Make changes to France’s cherished and generous retirement system with little resistance from unions. His secret? The changes are so small and put off so far into the future that economists say they aren’t worthy of the name “reform.” Labor unions were calling for protests across France on Tuesday. But the demonstrations are not expected to turn into the massive protests that brought cities to a standstill in 2010, when Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, raised the retirement age. Partially that is because Hollande, a Socialist, consulted with union leaders when drawing up the reform. Also, the changes, which the lower house of parliament votes on this week, will fix only a part of what needs changing, analysts say. “It’s the salami strategy,” said Elie Cohen, an economist at Sciences Po university. “We have a big problem, we don’t know how to fix it, so we cut it into pieces, like a nice sausage.” Hollande’s reform would lengthen the number of years people must work to receive a full pension, from 41 years today to 43 years by 2035.
This is not an easy competition.” Spain showed determination to close out qualifying on a high as it dominated 97th-ranked Georgia from the opening whistle, with the front line of Iniesta, Negredo, Pedro Rodriguez, and Jesus Navas leading the way. Negredo started in place of Michu and caused problems for Georgia’s back four throughout. The Manchester City striker headed off the post before watching goalkeeper Giorgi Loria palm his powerful, acrobatic bicycle volley over goal. In the 26th minute, Pedro floated a deep pass for Iniesta to tap back to Negredo to guide into the top of goal. Iker Casillas returned to starting lineup for Spain after being replaced by Victor Valdes against Belarus, and the Real Madrid goalie showed no rust in denying efforts from Nikoloz Gelashvili and Jano Ananidze before the break. Spain enjoyed more than 75 percent of the possession and never relented at the Carlos Belmonte Stadium as Mata stroked home a loose ball inside the area just three minutes after replacing Pedro. Spain heads into Brazil looking for an unprecedented fourth straight major title by adding a second World Cup crown to its two European championships. At Stade de France, Ribery hit a shot with ferocious power into the top right corner in the eighth minute for his fourth goal in three games. Mathieu Valbuena, Olivier Giroud, and Samir Nasri all came close to adding a second before halftime as the French knew goals were needed to have any chance of finishing top of the group if Spain slipped up. Those goals came after the restart after Tovio whacked Giroud’s 76th-minute header into the roof of goal while trying to clear it off the line. Benzema converted Ribery’s perfectly weighted cross with a well-taken volley with three minutes to play, but France advances to the playoff as it did four years ago when it beat Ireland to reach South Africa. FIFA holds the draw on Monday for next month’s playoff. “That’s what we were looking for (confidence). We are much more in control than we were before,” France coach Didier Deschamps said. “The players are in really good shape at the moment.