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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

French coach Deschamps says all 23
players available for World Cup opener

KAZAN Russia (Xinhua) -- French head coach Didier Deschamps told press on Friday afternoon that all the 23 French players are available for their World Cup opener against Australia on Saturday.

With all the players physically and mentally really for the coming game, Deschamps said his aim is to have the most competitive and highest performing French team at this World Cup.

French, one of the favorites to win the World Cup in Russia, will head into their World Cup Group C opener in Kazan.

When talked about the injuries, Deschamps said Chelsea star Olivier Giroud is physically "fine" and will "have right protection" on his stitches for the World Cup opener and there is also no need to worry about injuries of defenders Samuel Umtiti and Djibril Sidibe.

"All the 23 players are available," Deschamps said.

During the pre-match press conference, the French coach also expressed several times that he is not worried about the youthfulness of his team.

Deschamps said many French young players already play for the giant clubs in the world.

"For many players, this is the first big tournament.

"We have a young group, but I do not see that as a risk.

"They have the quality for otherwise I hadn’t selected them," the 49-year-old fromer French captain said.

On Thursday night Antoine Griezmann, the 27-year-old France forward, announced that he will stay with Atletico Madrid, bringing the months of speculation surrounding the player to an end.

With regard to Griezmann’s decision, the French coach praised the player’s loyalty and his attachment to the Spanish club.

"And, especially for us, that he has the free spirit for this World Cup, " said Deschamps.

"The French coach apparently is happy that the player can focus on the game now.

"It’s certainly a very good thing for us," Deschamps added.

On the match of Saturday, Deschamps said the first match is always important.

The 1998 World Cup winner said his experience is to win one match by one match and his team now needs to play in the group stage with determination.

France will also meet Peru and Denmark in the group period.
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EARLIER REPORT:

Australian coach: Socceroos need to show courage against France

KAZAN Russia (Xinhua) -- Australia coach Bert van Marwijk said on Friday that his men must show both discipline and guts in their World Cup opener against France in Kazan.

Van Marwijk was just announced as Australia’s new coach this January.

The 66-year-old admitted in the pre-match press conference that the Socceroos didn’t have very much time to prepare, but he emphasized that the team has made a lot of progress and says he feels "satisfied with the performance right now."

Australia is in Group C with France, Peru and Denmark.

The Socceroos will face the Les Bleus in Kazan on Saturday.

"Our first goal is to survive in the first round (of the group stage)," said van Marwijk.

Van Marwijk admitted that when Australia play against France for 10 times, they will "lose eight to nine times."

"We have worked hard to get a situation (where) maybe we lose five or six times, but we also can win a few times and draw a few times as well", add van Marwijk.

The coach told the press that the key to victory over France is to be "well-organized."

"When you’re well-organized and believe in something, and everybody knows exactly from each other what to do and you have the guts to play, and to be yourself, then we have a chance," said the Australia coach.

However, the Australian boss refused to give any details on the match against France.

"I’m not going to talk here about tactics and our plan against France," van Marwijk said, "we know we are going to play against one of the best countries in the world and they have the chance to win the World Cup."

Saudi Arabia was thrashed 5-0 by Russia in Moscow on Thursday.

As the former coach of Saudi Arabia, van Marwijk does not fear that his team will repeat the Saudi Arabia scenario at the game against France.

"If we assume that we have no chance, we better not come tomorrow.

"If you are well organized and you believe in yourself you also have a chance against a better opponent," the Dutchman added.

           

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