Deschamps faces dilemma ahead of Georgia game

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Adds quotes, details.

By JEROME PUGMIRE

AP Sports Wrier

CLAIREFONTAINE, France (AP) -France coach Didier Deschamps must decide whether to gamble on picking players for the World Cup qualifier with Georgia who are at risk of being suspended for the critical game against Spain four days later.

Midfielders Yohan Cabaye, Maxime Gonalons and Blaise Matuidi and center back Laurent Koscielny will be suspended if they are booked against Georgia on Friday, leaving Deschamps with a difficult decision to make over whether or not he should leave out first-choice players.

"Yes, that is a possibility but that doesn't mean I will do it. The risk of suspension is an extra danger," Deschamps said Monday, adding that he is wary of pushing tired players too far against a Georgia team which he expects to sit back and defend deep in numbers.

"We could find ourselves in that situation," he said. "I'm expecting to face a Georgia team which will come to Stade de France to defend well."

Deschamps also has injury concerns, with Cabaye and winger Jeremy Menez nursing groin strains and star winger Franck Ribery recovering from an ankle ligament injury, and he may be better served resting some of them.

"Freshness is important when you are playing two teams with completely different profiles," Deschamps said. "I have to take into consideration that I have four players who could be suspended (for the Spain match) and three of them in midfield."

France and Spain are level on seven points in Group I.

Koscielny, meanwhile, is confident he can cope with playing under the threat of a yellow card.

"When I play I think first and foremost about the match. If I play then I will give everything without putting myself under pressure over the yellow card," the Arsenal defender said. "The most important thing is the Georgia match, even though I know everyone's focusing on Spain. We have to win against Georgia then after that we will have a lot of time to think about Spain afterward. Spain had a lot of trouble winning over there, and we are expecting a tough game."

But resting Koscielny against a Georgia team not renowned for its attacking flair could be an ideal opportunity to give 19-year-old center half Raphael Varane his first cap, while 20-year-old midfielder Paul Pogba is pushing for his first start after some fine performance for Juventus.

"There is always a risk when a player starts. There are examples of that, but Varane will start at one stage or another. There is no such thing as zero risk in football," Deschamps said. "I have no doubt about his ability but this is a different context. Is he capable of dealing with that? Yes."

Deschamps is bracing himself for a scrappy contest against Georgia, which held out until late on before losing 1-0 at home to Spain.

"We've watched quite a few videos of their last games," he said. "They defended very well at home to Spain, with a lot of aggression."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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