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Diaby and Clichy both likely to miss Belarus match

Associated Press Modified: September 10, 2012 at 11:48 am •  Published: September 10, 2012

PARIS (AP) — France coach Didier Deschamps expects to be without midfielder Abou Diaby and left back Gael Clichy for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Belarus because both players are struggling with muscle pains.

Diaby, who scored France's winner in Friday's 1-0 win away to Finland, took a knock in that game and felt a reaction in training on Sunday. Deschamps says the Arsenal midfielder is "not moving freely" and that either Blaise Matuidi or Etienne Capoue will likely replace him.

Striker Olivier Giroud missed the Finland game, but has returned to full fitness after coming through Sunday's training session.

Deschamps said Monday that "it is possible" that Giroud will start the match alongside Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema, who has not scored in his past 11 games for club and country.

Deschamps wants his forward line to be more productive, with no strikers scoring in France's past five games.

"We have to keep the control we had in the last game, but we must improve our crossing and our presence in front of goal," said Deschamp, who took over from Laurent Blanc after the European Championship. "We have to do better in both of these areas."