Result: Finland 0-1 France

Abou Diaby
© PA Photos
Abou Diaby gives Didier Deschamps a winning start as France manager with the only goal in their 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Finland.

Abou Diaby's first-half goal was enough to earn France a 1-0 victory in their World Cup qualifying opener against Finland tonight.

The Arsenal midfielder applied the finishing touches to Karim Benzema's individual brilliance to give Les Bleus a 20th-minute lead.

Real Madrid striker Benzema weaved his way past three Finland challenges before playing Diaby through to slot under the goalkeeper.

The hosts nearly found an equaliser before the break, but Roman Eremenko's header was parried away by new Tottenham Hotspur signing Hugo Lloris.

France had much the better of the game in the second period as both Yohan Cabaye and Mamadou Sakho forced good saves out of Lukas Hradecky.

The 1998 World Cup winners wasted several more chances to double their lead as Benzema, Patrice Evra and Jeremy Menez all shot off target from good positions.

In the end, they were in debt to Lloris, who produced a superb late save to deny Tim Sparv and secure Didier Deschamps victory in his first competitive match in charge.

Abou Diaby
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