Our fate is still in our hands, insists Domenech
The French coach says all teams in group C are in the same position and things could still change if the French team finds the moment to score.12 June 2008
CHATEL-SAINT-DENIS - French coach Raymond Domenech sought to put a positive spin on his side's hesitant start to Euro 2008 here on Wednesday by insisting the 2000 champions' fate was still in their own hands.
France are on one point in group C after their opening goalless draw with Romania and know that only a win against Holland on Friday or Italy next week will suffice if they are to remain in the competition.
"People say we 'only' got a draw against Romania but we have two matches left and all the teams in our group are in the same position even if the Dutch have three points," said Domenech, who has defied the critics before by taking the French to a penalty shootout defeat by Italy in the 2006 World Cup final.
"For now it depends on us, that's what I've been telling the players. We're not yet in the business of making calculations. We have to win, not lose.
"A team could qualify with just three points, that would be a miracle, but it could happen. Honestly I'd prefer if we finished up with seven."
In the 2006 World Cup Domenech repeated like a mantra the date of the final in Berlin, this time around he hasn't once mentioned 29 June, the date of the Euro 2008 final in Vienna.
Asked about that at Wednesday's press conference the as usual sphinx-like handler replied: "It's a different situation.
"To have certitude in this group (Group C) would be mad as it's so complicated. We have to qualify from it first, no projection before that.
"And if things go as I believe they will we'll have a first 'final' in our last group game against Italy to make it to the next round."
France's fortunes could hinge on the return of France's all time top scorer Thierry Henry and veteran captain Patrick Vieira, both of whom missed Monday's game.
"They played 45 minutes of Tuesday's training game without a problem and are coming along normally. Today is Wednesday, we'll see by Friday," was all Domenech would divulge about whether the pair would figure in Berne.
He said he'd been impressed by the Dutch's 3-0 rout of world champions Italy, though, the Dutch could have a harder time penetrating the French defence as they have not conceded a goal in their past five matches.
"I know what they're capable of, they're an impressive team. But we're solid and could score at any moment, we haven't found that moment yet though!"
[AFP / Expatica]