France set to face Lithuania

Updated: 23 March 2007 07:46 IST

France will have to adapt to some new players when it travels to Lithuania for Saturday's European Championship qualifier.

France set to face Lithuania

Marcoussis:

France will have to adapt to some new players when it travels to Lithuania for Saturday's European Championship qualifier.

The team that reached the World Cup final last year will missing several injured players, including captain Patrick Vieira, strikers Thierry Henry and Louis Saha, and winger Franck Ribery.

"There are people missing, yes. The manager must adapt to the circumstances. That's a manager's job," France coach Raymond Domenech said.

Domenech is confident that Chelsea midfielder Lassana Diarra and Lyon striker Karim Benzema will be ready.

They were picked along with Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby and Marseille midfielder Samir Nasri. None of the four has ever made an international appearance for France.

"It doesn't worry me. They can play, they can get into the team," Domenech said. "They all play in big clubs and are used to the top level," he added.

All four players are under 20 years old, but Domenech said the lack of experience doesn't mean anything.

"I've known players with 30 or 40 caps who got tense," the coach said.

Henry injured

But the absence of Henry, who injured stomach and groin muscles on March 7 during Arsenal's 1-1 draw with PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League, is a massive blow for France.

"There is no like-for-like replacement," Domenech said. "I can't say right now whether we'll play with one or two center forwards."

France is tied with Scotland at the top of Group B with nine points each, ahead of World Cup champion Italy.

Although Lithuania has only four points and is in fifth place, Domenech wants a win.

"For the time being, this is our final," Domenech said. "We are playing for qualification for the Euros. It's an important match.

"To qualify, you have to win, and to win you need this spirit," Domenech added. "Qualification won't be easy. We have to turn the page on the World Cup final."

Topics : Football France Romania Greece Lyon Costa Rica
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