France prepare to face Switzerland

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> France coach Raymond Domenech has hinted he may again postpone the announcement of his team to face Switzerland in a World Cup qualifier.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:50 IST
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France coach Raymond Domenech has hinted he may again postpone the announcement of his team to face Switzerland in a World Cup qualifier in Paris on Saturday. Domenech had initially intended to name his side on Thursday, but put it back by at least 24 hours. Domenech is waiting on the fitness of strikers Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet, midfielder Vikash Dhorasoo and defender Gael Givet. French form on a low The French, who have snatched two away successes at the Faroe Islands and Cyprus, have produced five consecutive draws on home soil and have yet to convince against strong European opposition. France, Ireland and Israel all have eight points for four games with Switzerland on five from three games. Israel play host to Ireland, also on Saturday. Despite the tight nature of the group, coach Raymond Domenech says Saturday's game and next Wednesday's trip to Israel will not decide the group. Domenech also wants the fans to see skilful and exciting football. "What we try to do during all the games, to pack the game, provoke something, that something happens to excite the public to show that everybody has the will, not to be waiting, not to be afraid to excel," said Raymond Domenech, France coach. Looking to score A victory over the Swiss on Saturday would not only boost morale but it would help them prepare for a tough challenge in Israel next week. The Israelis are certain that this is the right time to beat the French, a feat they have only once, but with devastating results, in the penultimate qualifier for the 1994 World Cup when France blew what looked an unassailable group lead to miss out on the finals. For once, France have had almost a whole week to work and prepare for the games, but it much of the time was sent working on the fitness of several key players. "The team is feeling really well, they had four five days to really prepare the game... and hopefully all the players who had small injuries will be fit for the game on Saturday," said Patrick Vieira, France captain. Focus on fitness Thierry Henry has been nursing a calf problem while fellow striker David Trezeguet is recovering from a sore right ankle. Midfielder Vikash Dhorasoo has had a painful bruise on the leg and with Gael Givet missing training on Thursday, young defender Julien Escude of Ajax Amsterdam has been called up as cover. "It's quite really important because we lost some points already at home and of course it will be really important for us to win the game," said Patrick Vieira, France captain. Switzerland arrive with memories of last year's 3-1 defeat to the French in the European championship. Switzerland coach Koebi Kuhn will bank on his top scorer Alexander Frei and on two promising newcomers Philippe Senderos and Reto Ziegler who should be given the nod. Only defender Raphael Wicky is doubtful. (AP)

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