France beat Finland but finish second

France 3-0 Finland Franck Ribéry's early strike and Karim Benzema's volley book-ended the scoring but France finished second in Group I.

Franck Ribéry (second right) celebrates his opener
Franck Ribéry (second right) celebrates his opener ©AFP/Getty Images

France had to settle for a FIFA World Cup play-off despite securing a third win in a row.

Franck Ribéry's audacious early strike, an Olivier Giroud header credited as an own goal to Joona Toivio and Karim Benzema's volley late in the second half kept the goals flowing for Didier Deschamps's charges. But Spain's defeat of Georgia left Les Bleus second in Group I and destined for Monday's play-off draw for the ties in November.

Having scored ten times in their last two games compared with 11 in the previous 13, France picked up where they left off in the 6-0 thrashing of Australia on Friday. The match in Paris was eight minutes old when Ribéry, running along the box from the left, launched a sudden effort which bounced in off the crossbar.

The goal reflected France's early dominance although the Finns provided a threat for Hugo Lloris on several occasions through Roman Eremenko and Alexander Ring. Finland goalkeeper Niki Mäenpää's thigh saved the visitors five minutes before half-time as Giroud sensed his chance from close range. Mäenpää's post was the saviour seconds later from another Giroud attempt.

Teemu Puuki showed quality in the second half, shooting wide after a fine team move. However, France came back to prominence towards the end and doubled their lead when Mathieu Debuchy's long cross was met by Giroud's far-post header, though Toivio was credited with the final touch. Yohan Cabaye hit an upright before fellow substitute Benzema struck the third three minutes from time with a left-foot volley following Ribéry's centre.