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France hoping for medical "miracles"

France, who lead the Group D standings with 20 points and hold a one-point advantage over Bosnia, made light work of Albania in a 3-0 win on Friday, playing forward-minded football throughout and they intend to do the same on Tuesday.

They are, however, hampered by defensive problems as they are without Bacary Sagna and could miss Patrice Evra, Mathieu Debuchy (pictured) and Eric Abidal, who are injured.

Centre-back Adil Rami, who picked up a knock on Friday, should be available, as well as Evra, according to Blanc, but Abidal, striker Kevin Gameiro and midfielder Yohan Cabaye may struggle to be fit.

"It will be complicated. The medical staff will have to work miracles," Blanc, who also has to deal with the absence of the injured striker Karim Benzema, told a news conference.

While a point would put the former champions into next year's tournament in Poland and Ukraine, they want to make absolutely sure by taking all three points.

"We should not be trapped into playing out a draw. It's not our game, we're not Italy, who can close the shop and wait for their opponent," midfielder Samir Nasri, who was finally near his best in the navy blue shirt on Friday, told reporters.

"We're going to play our football and put them on the back foot. The good thing is that they are a team who like to play so there should be space. We're not going to make calculations and do everything we can to win."


Blanc agreed, stressing Bosnia would not be content with a draw either as they look to qualify for their first major tournament as an independent nation.

"My only strategy is to win this game. We will not play against our nature," the coach said.

"We will prepare this game just like the others: to win it."

It may, however, be trickier against Bosnia than Albania.

Safet Susic's team crushed Luxembourg 5-0 on Friday to make sure they will finish at least second in the group and clinch a play-off berth.

The team led by Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko will look to take advantage of France's defensive concerns although Bosnia coach Susic believes the hosts remain the favourites despite their injury woes.

"France are the strong favourites to win because they have several world class players in every position, so it's not a huge problem for them if someone is injured," he was quoted as saying by local media.

"We have to take risks in Paris but we also have to stay focused and keep our feet on the ground because our fans sometimes expect us to play like world champions, such is their mentality."

The Bosnians are likely to field their usual 4-4-2 formation with Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic up front.

Probable teams:

France - Hugo Lloris; Anthony Reveillere, Younes Kaboul, Adil Rami, Patrice Evra; Yann Mvila, Alou Diarra, Samir Nasri, Florent Malouda; Loic Remy, Bafetimbi