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France look for redemption in Lithuania

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by Emmanuel VERSACE

Latest update : 2009-03-28

France take on Lithuania tonight in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. In addition to the crucial three points, Raymond Domenech's men will be looking to restore their confidence after a series of poor showings.

Les Bleus are back in business Saturday on the frozen ground of Kaunas, where they take on Group 7's second-placed Lithuania in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

Though the Baltic test is well within France’s reach, Domenech’s men have yet to prove themselves worthy.

Their results have been rather poor since their early exit at Euro 2008: a late draw courtesy of Yohan Gourcuff and Franck Ribery in Romania (2-2); another poor draw against Uruguay (0-0); and defeat in Marseille against Maradona’s boys (2-0).

And their last victory is best remembered for the political upheaval surrounding crowd's booing of the Marseillaise, rather than their performance on the pitch.

By selecting André-Pierre Gignac, the Ligue 1 best scorer, Domenech is looking to boost creativity up front. But the Toulouse player will have to fight for his place with Paris Saint Germain's Guillaume Hoarau.

The Paris striker replaces Nicolas Anelka, who injured a toe last week. Thierry Henry is the only foreign-based striker on the list. Gignac (Toulouse), Jimmy Briand (Rennes) and Karim Benzema (Lyon) all play in France.

In defence, Abidal, Escude and Boumsong are off and Adil Rami will take this opportunity to make his debut in France’s professional team. Rami was already listed in France’s second team against Mali. The former Frejus gardener knows he will have to be at his best to secure a permanent place on Les Bleus’ team sheet. “If I play, I will have to be as good as Lilian Thuram”, he said, conscious that he will have “to progress and work”.

In the other encounter, Romania take on Serbia, who will look to consolidate their leadership of the group.

Date created : 2009-03-28

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