France prepare for World Cup qualifier

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> France coach Raymond Domenech regretted the loss of his two top strikers ahead of Saturday's crucial World Cup group four qualifier.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:49 IST
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France coach Raymond Domenech regretted the loss of his two top strikers ahead of Saturday's crucial World Cup group four qualifier against Switzerland as his squad arrived for training. Speaking at his team's Clairefontaine training camp, Domenech confirmed he will be without Juventus striker David Trezeguet dut to a thigh injury, Arsenal's Thierry Henry because of a groin injury, Monaco's Gael Givet and possibly defender Lilian Thuram. Replacement called Domenech has called up Bordeaux's Frank Jurietti as a replacement, but isn't worried that his remaining fit players will not be able to cope. "They are professionals - they are used to that kind of situation. For about a year, we have been playing uneven matches where if we lost, it was bad news. Here we are again in the same situation," said Domenech. Henry and Trezeguet have scored 30 and 31 goals respectively for France. The coach did not select a replacement - somehow resisting the urge to call up Nicolas Anelka, the striker who has not been picked for the national squad since snubbing a late call-up from then-coach Jacques Santini for a friendly in November 2002. Zinedine Zidane, who injured his groin in the 1-0 win over Eire last month, played as a substitute for Real Madrid at the weekend, and should be fit to start against Switzerland. Repeat performance Domenech wants a repeat of that performance against the Irish in Dublin. "There were some strong moments that day and the best one was at the end when we had won it. We won because the players were so good on the pitch and what I will tell then is to do the same thing again. Before or after, I don't care," he said. Liverpool's Djibril Cisse is now the squad's only recognised striker since Olympique Lyon's Sylvain Wiltord and Sidney Govou usually play as wingers. A victory in Berne would book the French a place at the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany after a hard-fought campaign in the tightest of all the European qualification groups. Switzerland and France are level on 16 points at the top of group four, followed by Israel on 15 points and the Republic of Ireland with 13. (AP)

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