30 May - 10 June, 2001   Copa Confederaciones    

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France: self-assured leaders in their field

Portugal's Dimas (R) lands on the pitch as French player Nicolas Anelka (C) controls the ball against Portugal's Vidigal (L).
Photo: Charles Platiau, Reuters
Any remaining doubts as to the resilience, the physical and mental shape, and the tactics of the World Champions that were raised in some quarters immediately after their success in Paris have long since vanished. During the EURO 2000 qualifying competition France may have had to overcome some of their most worrying moments in the last 30 months, but aside from this, Roger Lemerre's team has been able to confirm its worldwide appeal as one of the most attractive European teams ever seen.

Their record in 2000 is excellent, with just a single defeat in 17 games and a dozen wins, mostly against top-quality opponents. The reigning World and European Champions, the first team to win these titles in that order, demonstrated to fans and experts alike just how important a healthy portion of self-confidence can be at the top levels of sport.

France's Nicolas Anelka (front) holds off South Africa's Bafana Bafana Delron Buckley (behind) during their Nelson Mandela Challenge friendly soccer match.
Photo: Juda Ngwenya, Reuters

France's Nicolas Anelka (top) out jumps a trio of Czech Republic's players during their second group D European Championship match June 16.
Photo: Pawel Kopczynski, Reuters
And in addition to maturity and experience France now possess something they had lacked for many years, namely a depth to their squad that is the envy of coaches everywhere. Legends such as Didier Deschamps and Laurent Blanc, with 200 caps between them, were able to retire from international football without inflicting any lasting damage on the team, who went on to thrash Turkey 4-0 away in their next friendly match.

As well as the established older members of the team and young stars such as Trezeguet und Anelka, players such as Marlet, Micoud, Djetou, Giuly, Vairelles and others are waiting in the wings. And they are being given their opportunity by a coach who disputes the claim that only foreign-based players have a chance of playing for the national side and is convinced that quality on the bench is the key to winning big matches. The French aim to continue nurturing the "culture of winning" in every friendly and, of course, at events such as the FIFA Confederations Cup, which gives a team without any serious competitive games a welcome opportunity to see where it stands.

Pos   Popular Name   Shirt Name Club D.O.B.
[ 1]   GK   RAME Ulrich   RAME   Girondins de Bordeaux 19-Sep-72
[ 2]   DF   SAGNOL Willy   SAGNOL   Bayern Munich (GER) 18-Mar-77
[ 3]   DF   LIZARAZU Bixente   LIZARAZU   Bayern Munich (GER) 09-Dec-69
[ 4]   MF   VIEIRA Patrick   VIERA   Arsenal (ENG) 23-Jun-76
[ 5]   MF   GILLET Nicolas   GILLET   Nantes 08-Nov-76
[ 6]   MF   DJORKAEFF Youri   DJORKAEFF   Kaiserslautern (GER) 09-Mar-68
[ 7]   MF   PIRES Robert   PIRES   Arsenal (ENG) 29-Oct-73
[ 8]   DF   DESAILLY Marcel   DESAILLY   Chelsea (ENG) 07-Sep-68
[ 9]   FW   ANELKA Nicolas   ANELKA   Paris St-Germain 14-Mar-79
[10]   MF   CARRIERE Eric   CARRIERE   Nantes 24-May-73
[11]   FW   WILTORD Sylvain   WILTORD   Arsenal (ENG) 10-May-74
[12]   GK   COUPET Gregory   COUPET   Olympique Lyonnais 31-Dec-72
[13]   DF   SILVESTRE Mikael   SILVESTRE   Manchester Utd. (ENG) 09-Aug-77
[14]   FW   NEE Frederic   NEE   Bastia 18-Apr-75
[15]   MF   BRECHET Jeremie   BRECHET   Olympique Lyonnais 14-Aug-79
[16]   MF   DACOURT Olivier   DACOURT   Leeds Utd. (ENG) 25-Sep-74
[17]   FW   MARLET Steve   MARLET   Olympique Lyonnais 10-Jan-74
[18]   DF   LEBOEUF Frank   LEBOEUF   Chelsea (ENG) 22-Jan-68
[19]   DF   KAREMBEU Christian   KAREMBEU   Middlesbrough (ENG) 03-Dec-70
[20]   DF   CAMARA Zoumana   CAMARA   Olympique de Marseille 03-Apr-79
[21]   FW   DUGARRY Christophe   DUGARRY   Girondins de Bordeaux 24-Mar-72
[22]   FW   ROBERT Laurent   ROBERT   Paris St-Germain 21-May-75
[23]   GK   LANDREAU Mickael   LANDREAU   Nantes 14-May-79

 x-France 3 2 0 1 9:1 6
 x-Australia 3 2 0 1 3:1 6
 Korea Republic 3 2 0 1 3:6 6
 Mexico 3 0 0 3 1:8 0
30-05-01   [1] Daegu, Korea 17:00 France vs. Korea Republic 5:0 (3:0) GHANDOUR Gamal, EGY
01-06-01   [5] Daegu, Korea 17:00 Australia vs. France 1:0 (0:0) BATRES Carlos, GUA
03-06-01   [9] Ulsan, Korea 19:30 France vs. Mexico 4:0 (1:0) BUJSAIM Ali Mohamed, UAE

07-06-01   [14] Suwon, Korea 20:00 France vs. Brazil 2:1 (1:1) GHANDOUR Gamal, EGY
10-06-01   [16] Yokohama, Japan 19:00 Japan vs. France 0:1 (0:1) BUJSAIM Ali, UAE

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