We will do it for Zidane: France World Cup squad

19th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

LEIPZIG, June 19, 2006 (AFP) - France's struggling World Cup stars have insisted they still have a chance of reaching the last 16 despite a second successive draw which leaves their hopes in the balance.

LEIPZIG, June 19, 2006 (AFP) - France's struggling World Cup stars have insisted they still have a chance of reaching the last 16 despite a second successive draw which leaves their hopes in the balance.

The 1-1 stalemate against South Korea has left them anxiously eyeing Switzerland's match with Togo on Monday in a Group G from which all four teams could still progress.

France will almost certainly have to beat Togo by several goals in their final group match in Cologne on Friday.

They will have to do it without Zinedine Zidane, who will be suspended after picking up his second booking of the tournament against the Koreans.

His teammates said they had the added motivation of ensuring that one of his nation's greatest ever players has a chance of lining up again in his final World Cup.

The inspirational midfielder who led the French to the 1998 triumph on home soil turns 34 on the day of the match.

"I hope we can give him the birthday present of playing in another match," said midfielder Florent Malouda, while veteran defender Lilian Thuram said after the Korea match: "We will do everything possible to make sure that this is not his last game."

Zidane himself was confident he would be pulling on the France shirt again in the second round.

"I don't think this was my last match. I'm looking further ahead," he said after the South Korea stalemate.

Willy Sagnol said many people forget that Zidane was suspended for two matches during France's charge to the title eight years ago.

"There is no real replacement for Zidane, but perhaps we can play differently without him," said the Bayern Munich stalwart.

"When Zidane was suspended after a red card in 1998 the team went a long way without him."

Goalkeeper Fabien Barthez, a key part of the 1998 side, said it was time France proved they had more determination than four years ago when they crashed out in the first round in South Korea.

"Nothing is said and done yet. We have to show we have guts because we can get out of this situation ourselves."

Thierry Henry - who scored his country's first World Cup goal in eight years when he found the net on Sunday - said there was no chance the team would freeze when it mattered most.

"There is no tension and no annoyance among the players. It's up to us now. Providing we beat Togo by at least two clear goals we're safe."

If France fail to win the group, they will have to face the winners of Group H, which includes Spain and Ukraine.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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