France's Diaby is congratulated by teammate Menez on his goal against Finland during their World Cup 2014 qualifying soccer match in Helsinki (Photo: REUTERS)
A first-half goal by Abou Diaby gave France a winning start in their World Cup qualifying campaign as they snatched a 1-0 win away to Finland in their Group I opener on Friday.
Diaby, whose career has been hampered by injuries and who had not played for Les Bleus since June last year, netted with a cross shot from Karim Benzema's through pass in the 20th minute.
Finland also had chances but were too clumsy in the box to make them count as new France coach Didier Deschamps claimed his first win in his second match in charge since taking over from Laurent Blanc after Euro 2012.
France, who had goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to thank in the final minutes after he made a lightning quick save, next play Belarus at the Stade de France on Tuesday in the second game of a group also featuring world and European champions Spain.
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