• France's news in English
 
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

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
French far-right boss sues mag that outed him
Closer's alleged outing of Philippot triggered an outrage in France. Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP

French far-right boss sues mag that outed him

Florian Philippot, one of the top members of France’s far-right party the National Front, is suing gossip magazine Closer for outing him as gay, demanding €50,000 in damages for the front-page splash of him and his alleged partner. READ  

Russian Mistral warship sailors leave France
In November France postponed delivery of Mistral ship to Russia "until further notice". Photo: AFP

Russian Mistral warship sailors leave France

Some 400 Russian sailors training to operate the controversial Mistral-class warship built by France for Russia on Thursday left the country as Paris faces increasing international pressure to abandon the disputed sale. France has already delayed the delivery of the vessel, citing the crisis in Ukraine. READ  

Truck drivers to block Paris roads over pay
French truck drivers want their action to 'impact the economy' of Ile-de-France. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Truck drivers to block Paris roads over pay

Enraged French truck drivers were on Thursday set to start blocking some roads and warehouses near Paris as part of a two-day labour action to demand a higher minimum salary. The blockage is likely to disrupt some last-minute Christmas deliveries. READ  

Five French terror plots 'foiled since last summer'
France says it has foiled five terrorism on its territory since the summer of 2013. Photo: Screengrab I-Tele

Five French terror plots 'foiled since last summer'

In the last 18 months, French intelligence services have prevented as many as five terrorism plots from taking place on French soil, according the country’s interior minister, who warned that jihadists returning from Syria continue to pose the biggest threat. READ  

French adman accuses Koons of stealing idea
US artist Jeff Koons (R) poses with US ambassador in France Jane Hartley at the US embassy in Paris in November. Photo: Francois Guillot/AFP

French adman accuses Koons of stealing idea

A French adman has accused US mega-artist Jeff Koons of stealing an idea from his 1985 Naf Naf advert to make a multi-million-euro artwork, a source close to the case said on Wednesday. READ  

The Local List
The French language's fixation with 'les Anglais'
What does a French woman mean when she says "Les Anglais ont débarqué!"?

The French language's fixation with 'les Anglais'

The French are known to for their stubborn attempts to keep English out of their language, but it appears they haven't done a very good job of it. The Gallic language is full of expressions containing the word “anglais” and most aren't complimentary. READ  

France votes to redraw map of its regions
France is set to start redrawing its map in January in 2016. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

France votes to redraw map of its regions

French lawmakers on Wednesday voted to redraw the map of France, reducing the country’s regions from 22 to 13, in a move aimed at trimming costs and reduce cumbersome bureaucracy. READ  

Trove of forgotten cars to go under hammer
The collection includes one of only 37 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spiders ever made. Photo: Xavier Leoty/AFP

Trove of forgotten cars to go under hammer

Earlier this month, a treasure trove of some 60 extremely rare cars was discovered in a small village in western France after lying forgotten for almost 50 years. In February the cars will change hands at an auction - and they're expected to fetch millions. READ  

Uber fights France's January ban at EU
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said this week that the practices of companies such as Uber would be banned completely starting January 1st. Photo: AFP

Uber fights France's January ban at EU

Uber, the taxi app company under fire around the world, has filed an EU complaint against a French ban on amateur drivers doubling as chauffeurs, the European Union said on Wednesday. READ  

Do the French really not care about Christmas?
Do the French really not care about Christmas? Photo: AFP

Do the French really not care about Christmas?

An opinion poll published this week concluded the French were the least bothered about Christmas of all northern European countries. But do the French really not give a s**t about Santa? Or are these polls best ignored? READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Culture
GALLERY: The French language's fixation with 'les Anglais'
Society
So what does the web tell us about the French in the year 2014
Society
Have the French fallen out of love with Christmas?
National
Immigration in France: Hollande hits back at the scaremongers
Culture
What's on: 10 things to do in France before Christmas
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
National
Muslims rule France in 2022: The bad boy of French literature is back
Gallery
There are so many things that claim to be French but aren't. Here are 12.
National
Crazy cat stories: Moggie returns after 1,200km trek across France
National
Tea sets for boys? French feminists protest 'gendered' Christmas presents
National
Jacques Chirac's 'head' - The perfect place to hide 1.5 kilos of weed
Gallery
Myths debunked: 11 things you (wrongly) presumed about France
National
Prices are tumbling but the property ladder is increasingly out of reach for the French
Education
IN IMAGES: French universities 'in ruin'. The students have the evidence
National
Life's about to get a lot cheaper for Paris commuters. Or is it?
Gallery
Ten dos and don'ts for partying with the French this Christmas
National
Some famous French fine wines are under threat from high speed trains
National
VIDEO: Homeless bodybuilder turns the streets of Paris into his gym
Business & Money
Noble Prize for Economics: Six things to know about Jean Tirole
Culture
Nobel Literature Prize: Ten things to know about Patrick Modiano
Gallery
Looking for a good Christmas market in France? Here's our top 10
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The top 15 new inventions to come out of France
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Gallery
Miss France Farmer: The contest to find a 'real French beauty'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Lyon's spectacular festival of lights dazzles once again
Gallery
IN IMAGES: Ten French Bond girls through the ages
National
Outrage forces French city to scrap yellow triangle ID cards for homeless
Gallery
Who does Christmas better - The French or Anglos? We decide.
National
All you need to know about the new French Bond girl Léa Seydoux
International
'My iPod's broken' - French jihadists moan about lack of home comforts
National
Race you to the top of the Eiffel Tower. No seriously, I'll race you.
National
And what if Mona Lisa was really a slave from China?
Opinion
Why company bosses in France have just about had enough
National
What impact did a 'giant butt plug' in Paris have on sales of sex toys?
Travel
National Geographic's top world destination for 2015 is in France.
Society
French babies switched at birth: Families seek €12 million damages
National
Why are so many French police officers taking their own lives?
Society
Immigration in France: Ten numbers that matter
Sponsored Article
Win a €250 voucher for your Christmas list
National
Sarko is back in the ring: Did he ever really leave it?
National
IN IMAGES: Yet more fatal floods hit the south of France
Gallery
Forget tourism and wine, here are 10 OTHER ways France leads the world
Education
Is Paris really the best place in the world to be a student?
Society
The things gynecologists say that drive French women mad
Sponsored Article
Live like a local - anywhere in the world
National
A pill to make flatulence smell like roses? A Frenchman has cracked it
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
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