Football Football

France looking for ‘ferocious desire’


BENZEMA-FRANCEPARIS, May 19- France and their coach Didier Deschamps opened their initial World Cup training base outside Paris on Monday as the 1998 champions gear up for the finals which begin on June 12.

The former Monaco, Juventus and Marseille handler is looking forward to his first World Cup as coach after captaining the team to maiden success 16 years ago.

“I’m happy. It’s the beginning of a new adventure and we’re really going to get stuck in now,” said the two-time Champions League winner as a player.

“The important thing is June 15 (opening match against Honduras), but from now to then there will be more preparation for players arriving late. But the adventure for the squad begins today (Monday).

France tackle Switzerland in their second Group E match on June 20 before closing with what could be a decider against Ecuador on June 25.

“We won’t be starting with a tough programme but will move into that progressively. The under-21’s are here until Friday before the arrival of the rest of the main squad next Wednesday, so we can mix it up,” he added.

“There are some players who are coming off heavy seasons and it will be normal to have days off. The happiest players will be those who finished a week ago because they have had time to relax a bit. When you finish (the season) late, you don’t have the same amount of rest time.

Ecuador held 2010 finalists, the Netherlands, to a 1-1 draw last Saturday in a friendly which gave Deschamps food for thought.

“Ecuador have some quality offensive players, they are reactive and play with a lot of aggression. They are not a country who are there by luck.

“They finished ahead of Uruguay in qualifying and I don’t want to make out that they’re more dangerous than they are, but they have quality up front and good team spirit.”

When asked about the condition of his squad, who needed to come back from 2-0 down in the playoffs to defeat Ukraine in their final qualifier, Deschamps played up the desire factor.

“We’re competitive with quality players but we need to be 100 percent ready on June 15. We have to show the same collective force that we did in our last two matches and keep the same intention and determination as well as a ferocious desire to go after the victories.