France hoping to shake off lingering doubts in final warm-up
"Les Bleus" will be hoping to build some momentum after recent lacklustre performances as they take on China in their final warm-up game ahead of the World Cup.
AFP - France coach Raymond Domenech said Thurdsay he is confident that his charges can shine at this year's World Cup.
"I am setting out confident in this group," insisted Domenech, who led France to an unexpected final in 2006.
"This group has desire and has worked well. I have confidence in the group - it is solid," said Domenech, whose side will kick off against Uruguay in Cape Town a week on Friday, after a laborious qualification campaign which riled fans of the 1998 champions.
Asked if the team was ready for the off, Domenech said: "I hope it is not ready - it has to be come the day of the match. We are just coming to the end of our preparations and the objective is not to say that the 11 who will start tomorrow (in Friday's friendly with China) will be the ones who start the finals."
Domenech has been tinkering in recent weeks with his side, introducing a new 4-3-3 shape that saw the French beat Costa Rica 2-1 in their opening World Cup warm-up match before a disappointing draw with Tunisia last Sunday.
He insisted he would not get tangled up in tactical jargon, however.
"I did not see a 4-3-3 (against Tunisia) - for me it is a 5-5 (formation). Thereafter, everyone can describe it as they wish," said Domenech, who said he believed his men had sufficient attacking firepower.
"From that standpoint we have something solid and creative," Domenech told reporters in La Reunion, a French overseas territory in the Indian Ocean.
Domenech also stated clearly his position on Barcelona veteran Thierry Henry, who said earlier this week that the coach had told him he would be held in reserve rather than handed a starting slot.
"Taking a player in the 23 is a real choice - what happens after that nobody knows. That it is not necessarily him who starts constitutes sporting logic," said Domenech, who said he would see how the event unfolded regarding who had a chance of breaking into the starting eleven.
And Domenech said that regardless of whether he played regularly Henry was a leader. "Henry is there, so is (William) Gallas, (Eric) Abidal, Patrice Evra, Franck Ribery, (Nicolas) Anelka also."
But "I prefer form to experience. All the better if the experienced players are on form."