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Lizarazu vows to keep playing for France until Euro 2004

© Reuters 2002

PARIS, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Sidelined by a knee injury, French defender Bixente Lizarazu insists his international career is far from over and vows to play for his country until Euro 2004.

"I want to go on until 2004 and finish on a great feat with France," he told football magazine France Football.

"I wish to take back what we lost in South Korea, for it's a shame to waste so much talent.

"Afterwards, we'll pass on the baton. My motivation is total. Otherwise I would have stopped after the FIFA World Cup"."

Lizarazu only resumed playing with Bayern Munich recently after a long injury layoff and has a number of rivals for his post at left back in the French squad including AS Roma's Vincent Candela, Olympique Lyon's Jeremie Brechet and Manchester United's Mikael Silvestre.

Silvestre played at left back in France's Euro 2004 Group One qualifier against Slovenia on Saturday and should retain the post against Malta on Wednesday.

But Lizarazu has no intention of giving up now.

"It's out of the question. I'm still excited about playing for France," he said.

"I see these young guys arriving, they have ambition and it keeps me motivated to stay at the highest level.

"We're all competitors, whether we're 20 or 30 years old. Naturally, to remain the best at my post in France is an enormous motivation. "Right now, as far as I know, it is the case."

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