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WORLD CUP 2014

WORLD CUP

France arrive in Brazil ahead of World Cup

Les Bleus have landed in Brazil ahead of their opening World Cup match against Honduras this coming Sunday. The team will be based in a luxury five star hotel on the outskirts of Sao Paulo and as already reported will not be subject to a ban on sex.

France arrive in Brazil ahead of World Cup
Les Bleus arrive at their base in Brazil ahead of the World Cup. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

The French national team were given a warm welcome when they arrived in Brazil late on Monday night.

The team flew to Sao Paulo from France before they caught another flight to the town of Ribeirao Preto, around 320 km away.

While Le Parisien newspaper reported that there was no welcome committee for the French team at the airport, the players were greeted by around 100 curious locals and a band of French fans and the usual scrum of journalists.

The moment the team arrived safely was captured on camera by French defender Mamadou Sakho.

Once they had gathered their bags together the French team were whisked off to their luxury hotel, where they will occupy 60 rooms in total.

When the team arrived locals had organised a welcome party, as seen in the video below from Le Parisien.

Mondial : les Bleus sont arrivés au Brésil par leparisien

The players should be able to escape the boredom that often sets in during long international tournaments with three swimming pools, a tennis court, a spa and a beach volley ball area on site.

The team will also host their partners and families at various times with coach Didier Deschamps confirming last month that he will not impose a sex ban on players in order to preserve their energy for the matches.

Les Bleus' first training session on a revamped complex nearby is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, and will be watched by up to 5,000 locals.

France's first game will be against Honduras on Sunday evening in Porto Alegre.

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FOOTBALL

France plans to keep growing women’s game after World Cup disappointment

France faces the challenge of continuing to develop women's football after the bitter disappointment of elimination from the World Cup by the United States.

France plans to keep growing women's game after World Cup disappointment
France players after the defeat against USA. Photo: AFP

“Back to Earth” was how sports daily L'Equipe put it after the host nation lost 2-1 to the holders in a quarter-final played out before a feverish crowd in Paris.

L'Equipe talked of “the disappointment of a shattered adventure” because coach Corinne Diacre's team had dreamt of emulating the men, World Cup winners in Russia last year and also winners as hosts in 1998.

The team had been desperate to make it to Lyon, where the semi-finals and final will be played and where seven of those who featured for France on Friday play their club football for Europe's top side.

Instead, France find themselves out of a fifth straight major tournament in the quarter-finals. To rub salt into the wounds, Friday's defeat had the knock-on effect of denying them a place at next year's Olympics.

Diacre had been set the objective of reaching the final, which always looked a daunting challenge once the draw raised the likelihood of an early meeting with the USA.

Amid the dejection on Friday, Diacre stated her wish to continue, and on Saturday French Football Federation (FFF) President Noel Le Graet confirmed she would stay.

“She will be in charge until the end of her contract, if not longer,” Le Graet told AFP.

That means until Euro 2021 in England at least, and the aim in France is to keep developing the women's game to give them a chance of one day going all the way.

The FFF hope the number of registered female players will reach 200,000 next year, an increase of almost 10 percent from present figures, but far from the two million registered male players.

They have also promised to invest 15 million euros into a post-World Cup “legacy” fund.

The interest in the women's game is there, as shown by television audiences during the World Cup, with 11.8 million watching the USA game on terrestrial TV.

However, translating that to an increased following in the women's domestic league will be a bigger challenge.

France games have drawn sell-out crowds at the World Cup, but in general attendances in domestic competition are modest at best, even if almost 26,000 saw powerhouses Lyon beat closest rivals Paris Saint-Germain earlier this year.

“We cannot go from so much enthusiasm now to league matches on poor pitches with only 120 fans,” said Le Graet. “We all need to make an effort and we will.”

Matches are televised, but like elsewhere income remains light years from rights deals in the men's game — a new sponsorship contract for the 12-club top flight with chemicals company Arkema is worth one million euros per season for three years.

Average salaries are reportedly around 3,500 euros per month, although stars like Amandine Henry and Wendie Renard are believed to earn almost 10 times that at Lyon, who have won the Champions League in the last four years. Again, those sums are dwarfed by the wages often on offer to the men.

“We need to keep putting money in, keep professionalising, because other countries are doing it and maybe that's why they are ahead of us,” warned Lyon and France forward Eugenie Le Sommer.

“We have a good league but unfortunately not every team is professional.

“There are countries who are ahead of us and we must catch up. Even Spain are putting lots of money in and we need to make sure we are not left behind.”

READ ALSO: France coach laments 'failure' as hosts knocked out of World Cup

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