• France edition
 
World Cup 2014
Confident France aim to make the Swiss roll
No sign of a strike among the French team this time round. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Confident France aim to make the Swiss roll

Published: 20 Jun 2014 11:12 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Jun 2014 11:12 GMT+02:00

France can almost guarantee qualification from their World Cup group on Friday if they manage a victory over Switzerland in Salvador.

Les Bleus are in form after beating Honduras 3-0 in their opening match but they face a much stiffer challenge against a Swiss team who are eager to cast themselves as underdogs.

Switzerland have tried to pile the pressure on France by claiming the underdog tag for the Alpine neighbours' World Cup Group E clash.

Both teams won their openers, with France topping the table after a convincing 3-0 win over Honduras, while the Swiss secured a last-gasp victory over Ecuador.

Super-sub Haris Seferovic netted in the last minute of injury time to claim a 2-1 come-back victory after the Swiss had fallen behind to Enner Valencia's first-half header.

Sixth-placed Switzerland are 11 places higher than the French according to FIFA's rankings, but insist those standings mean nothing.

"Favourites? You like that word in France, eh?," Swiss central defender Steve von Bergen told AFP.

Should expats in France support Les Bleus at the World Cup

"It is France who are the favourites."

Nevertheless, both sides are eager for a win at Salvador's Arena Fonte Nova, which would give them control of the group.

"We're in a special position with France being our neighbours and it's a derby, so to speak, but if we are to have a chance, we really have to go beyond our limits," said Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

"They are a team who have put in great performances and were impressive in their play-off win against Ukraine.

"They put in an explosive performance and played with confidence.

"They are very flexible and can switch very quickly, they work like a machine.

"We'll have to be aggressive on attack, counter-attack quickly and then we'll have a chance."

Friday's match falls on the fourth anniversary of the French squad's infamous strike during their South Africa 2010 campaign when the team refused to train in support of Nicolas Anelka after a row with then-coach Raymond Domenech.

France captain Hugo Lloris says the anniversary will not be a factor as they chase the win which would leave them on the verge of the knock-out phase.

"We don't have what happened in 2010 in mind, we're really focused on this tournament. What happened in 2010 belongs in the past," said Lloris.

"We're here to live an adventure for as long as possible with the best results possible."

France coach Didier Deschamps has plenty of options up front with Arsenal's Olivier Giroud, who spent most of the Honduras game on the bench as 22-year-old Antoine Griezmann shone, eager to start.

Midfielder Yohan Cabaye will not feature after he came off in the Honduras match with a hamstring injury.

Unique experience

France only squeezed into the World Cup finals by narrowly defeating Ukraine in a play-off.

But they have scored 21 goals in their last six games starting with the stunning 3-0 win over Ukraine in Paris last November, which confirmed their Brazil 2014 berth.

"The match against Ukraine allowed us to live a unique experience and regain our confidence, but we have to maintain that with victories," added Lloris.

"We are strong and resilient, but you have to maintain the balance in the team by winning.

"One bad performance can jeopardise everything. You have to keep winning, regardless of who we play."

Deschamps is hoping for another high-scoring game in Salvador at the stadium where the most World Cup goals have been scored so far.

The Netherlands started the trend when they hammered holders Spain 5-1 last Friday, then Germany also went goal-crazy in their 4-0 romp against Portugal on Monday.

Now Deschamps, France's World Cup winning captain in 1998, is hoping the French and Swiss also catch a dose of goal fever -- providing his team wins, of course.

"I hope so for the public, the fans who come want to see as many goals as possible," said Deschamps.

"You can have very good goalless draws, but it's always better if you score a few."

Don't miss stories about France, join us on Facebook and Twitter

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to try to convince Germany to spend again
France and Germany are meeting on Monday to talk about spending. Photo: AFP

France to try to convince Germany to spend again

The French prime minister is to meet on Monday with Germany's chancellor in a bid to advocate for an easing up of budget-cutting policies in favour of pro-growth actions and stimulus spending in the eurozone. READ  

Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French
Isis fighters have put out a call for the kiling of 'dirty, spiteful' French. Photo: Weyleyat Salahuddin/AFP

Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French

Isis Islamic extremists on Monday called on Muslims to target the French and citizens of other countries that have joined the US-led coalition to fight the jihadist organization, branding the French “dirty” and “spiteful”. However France's interior minister insists that the country is "not afraid." READ  

The Local List
Ten French customs that confuse Anglos
What may seem like normal behaviour in your home country doesn't always apply to French culture. Teacher photo: Shutterstock

Ten French customs that confuse Anglos

What may seem like normal behaviour in your home country doesn't always apply to French culture. Whether you’re at the supermarket checkout or the raising your glass at a dinner party, here are ten common customs to watch out for in France. READ  

Air France freezes plan angering striking pilots
Air France announced on Sunday that only 41 percent of flights would be operational on Monday. Photo: AFP

Air France freezes plan angering striking pilots

Air France entered its second week of crippling pilots’ strike on Monday with just 41 percent of flights set to take off as planned. But the airline announced it's freezing the low-cost plan at the heart of the conflict. READ  

Napoleon marriage document draws €437K
Josephine and Napoleon's marriage document went for a whopping sum at auction.

Napoleon marriage document draws €437K

Napoleon and Josephine’s marriage licence fetched a whopping €437,500 at auction on Sunday, one more remarkable happening in one of the world’s greatest love stories. READ  

Sarkozy comeback: 'I don't have a choice'
A TV grab shows former French president Nicolas Sarkozy speaking during France 2 broadcast news in Paris. Photo: France 2/AFP

Sarkozy comeback: 'I don't have a choice'

Nicolas Sarkozy painted a dire portrait of the crisis in France on Sunday as the ex-president capped a high-profile political comeback that has kicked off a battle for supremacy over the country's struggling opposition. READ  

PM slams farmers for torching tax office
An officer of technical and forensic police takes pictures of the partially burned tax center, on September 20, 2014 in Morlaix, western of France. AFP Photo/Fred Tanneau

PM slams farmers for torching tax office

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Saturday vowed to prosecute farmers in Brittany who torched tax and insurance buildings and dumped vegetables in the streets in protest at falling living standards. READ  

London to help France pay for Calais migrants
French police watching illigal immigrants while they wait in line on to receive meals from the "La Belle Etoile" (Pretty Star) association in Calais. AFP Photo/Philippe Huguen

London to help France pay for Calais migrants

Britain has bowed to French pressure to help foot the bill for migrants flooding into the northern port of Calais in a bid to reach Britain, Paris said on Saturday. READ  

Cause of Mali air crash still a mystery: probe
Debris found in the aftermath of the crash of the Air Algerie Flight AH5017. Photo: AFP

Cause of Mali air crash still a mystery: probe

Investigators probing the crash of an Air Algerie flight in Mali that killed 116 people in July said on Saturday there was no obvious lead yet and all possibilities, including terrorism, were being explored. READ  

France plan air lifts to help fight Ebola
Liberian Red Cross health workers, wearing protective suits, carry the body of a 18-old-month baby, victim of the Ebola virus in Monrovia. AFP Photo/Zoom Dosso

France plan air lifts to help fight Ebola

France and Germany will send military transport planes to West Africa to help efforts to contain the Ebola epidemic, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and military officials said on Friday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
National
Ten great bars in Paris only locals know about
Society
France's top expat tribes: Which are you?
National
France to set flat-rate for Paris airport taxis
Politics
French separatists want Scots to say 'yes'
National
Anti-dog poo offensive launched in French town
National
Scammers attack Paris's top cop at tourist hotspot
National
French leader didn't pay his rent for three years
National
'WW2 bomb' kills camper on French island
Does France have a racism problem?
National
National
'Enough gloom, France is an amazing country'
Gallery
The top ten tourist traps to avoid in France
Politics
The juiciest bits from Trierweiler's tell-all book
Politics
Trierweiler tells all: 'Hollande wanted me back, at any price'
Education
'Sacre bleu!' Do the French really say that?
Politics
Manuel Valls has plenty in common with Tony Blair, but not background
International
Votes for expats: Plan to end UK's 15-year rule
Gallery
Ten dos and don'ts for keeping your French in-laws happy
National
Unemployment: How does France compare to Europe?
International
Are all the talented professionals really leaving France?
National
La France profonde: Is it a rural idyll or a backwater hell?
Travel
Check out the four new attractions coming to Paris this autumn
Gallery
The French words you can't translate literally
National
Ten things you need to know about France's economics whizzkid
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se