France should win this one with a couple of goals. They are way better than Senegal and huge favourites to win the match and the group. But that is just a fact Senegal can use to make the surprise impact and win. It's also a World Cup and you know the ball is round, so everything is possible...
Zidane will probably miss all of the group games. Well most likely the first two, but now they're also talking about the 3rd against Denmark. Although France have a very strong squad and a injured Zidane shouldn't be a big problem for them, I still think they will have a hard time replacing him in the 1st eleven. He's the most important player in the World Cup, so he'll definitely be a huge loss for them.
But lets just wait and see how many of the group games he'll get. It would still be very nice if he wasn't ready for the match against us though.
I don't really like France. The only reason I adore atching their games is Zizou, what dribbles, what a player. Now he won't be there and I have a weak spot for African teams. The openingsgame is always something different. think Belgium-Argentina in 1982. Senegal is gone win this game :dazed:
World Cup Preview: France-Senegal
France - Senegal | News Archive
Can France repeat the feats of 98? (Allsport)
Let the battle commence! The anxious wait is over and for the next month pure, unadulterated, wall-to-wall football is on the menu and it's the world champions France kicking us off against outsiders Senegal. David versus Goliath in more ways than one.
Since winning the competition back in 1998, France have had the finger pointed at them on more than one occasion for being lucky. Well, are injuries to key players Robert Pires and Zinedine Zidane an indication that Les Bleus luck is finally on the wane? The injury to the Arsenal midfielder was cruel indeed, for Pires had just enjoyed the finest season of his career and was set to demonstrate to the world stage the mix of pace, trickery and ice cold finishing that Premiership crowds have taken as a matter of course.
The torn thigh muscle suffered by Zidane could not have arrived at a worst time but coach Roger Lemerre should look on the bright side. If the worst was to happen and the Real Madrid ace was ruled out for the first three group games, at least he'd be fit and raring to go for the second round. France's group never looked terribly taxing and they remain strong favourites to top it and progress comfortably into the second round.
Many have suggested that this side don't have a weakness. Wrong. The centre-back partnership of Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf scarcely looked comfortable in the Premiership when the pair were at Chelsea, and against South Korea on Sunday in the 3-2 friendly win, there were worrying signs. A number of alarming gaps seemed to form and the World Cup co-hosts were able to take advantage on two occasions and came within a few minutes of a creditable draw until, ironically, Leboeuf popped up with a clinical 88th minute winner. The signs are, however, that midfield enforcers Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit will need to be on their mettle throughout the tournament as they protect a less than secure looking back five.
How much do you know about Senegal. Honestly? According to experts, they could be the next Cameroon. Or Nigeria. The Kiranga Lions boast a well-assembled team with flair, technique and muscles. They only need nerves (and nerve? to make an impression, starting Friday.
France know this curtain raiser has "upset" written all over it. But they also know their Senegalese opponents well for they all play (except reserve goalie Cissokho) in le Championnat. A massive exodus could take place after the World Cup if star players do make lucrative moves to the Premiership, as aired by some pundits.
However Senegal will have to come to grips with two factors: a tense preparation and a tendency to depression.
First off, depression. As we pointed out in our general presentation of Senegal, the team's backbone, made of players based in France's Racing Lens, are still heart-broken to have let go the Championnat title. The World Cup could be a good way to put it behind them, but a poor mental background is no help in a competition like the WC. It'll be Senegal's greatest challenge to overcome those psychological problems to get through to the second round.
Second, preparation. Senegal took off with overwhelming support from fans at home, but it could hardly conceal the team's problems of preparation. Star El Hadji Diouf complained the Senegal camp had been marked by amateurism. It sounded like an outburst ?la Roy Keane, but did not go any further. Then came the embarrassing shop-lifting incident in which Khalilou Fadiga, one of the team's pillar of support, got involved. Look out for consequences here.
LATEST TEAM NEWS
France: Lemerre has just one injury absentee but he just happens to be the team's key player Zidane. Youri Djorkaeff will come into the line-up and he has this week spoken of how he should be seen as a player in his own right and not just a replacement for the great man. Sylvain Wiltord will take Robert Pires' place in advanced midfield and the rest of the team picks itself. There was a doubt over Thierry Henry last week but fears over his fitness now seem to have subsided.
Senegal: Khalilou Fadiga has been cleared to play against France despite his personal problems with the Korean police. The Auxerre winger's presence is pivotal to Bruno Metsu's plans as his strength and pace are two weapons the ageing French defence fears. Coach Metsu looks set to field a full strength, tongue-in-cheek 4-4-2 formation. Unlike many other teams, Metsu won't be looking to just survive against the World Cup title holders, who could be in for a shock when Friday comes. Senegal have one player suspended for this one in the shape of PSG's Pape Sarr.
Senegal- 4-4-2: Sylva, Daf, Ciss?/a>, Coly, Diatta, Diao, S N'Diaye, M N'Diaye, Fadiga, Diouf, H Camara.
France: David Trezeguet has just enjoyed the best season of his career with Juventus, helping them to the Scudetto with his 24 goals. The 24-year-old cut a wasteful figure back in 98 but has come on the proverbial leaps and bounds since four years ago and is many people's favourite to finish the tournament as top scorer. Terrific pace, strong in the air and lethal in the box.
Senegal: Quite difficult to say after three weeks of preparation. El Hadji Diouf looks like a safe pick. His form faded in le Championnat's latter stages, but his great eye for goal could be lethal for France. Liverpool transfer target Salif Diao is another player under close scrutiny, whereas goalkeeper Tony Sylva knows he must finally show what he is capable of after so many seasons spent in the shadows of French reserve championships.
Even though Senegal are one of France's many former African colonies, the two countries have never met on the international stage. The burden of history could play a role here?
World Cup Prediction: France-Senegal
France - Senegal | News Archive
Diouf is Senegal's danger man (AP)
05/30/2002. France's whole buildup to this game has been marred by the thigh tear sustained by Zinedine Zidane. No one knows quite how long the Real Madrid ace is out for but he will definitely miss this one. What a boost for Senegal. Bruno Metsu's men will be wound up for this game like no other and don't think for one second that the controversy surrounding Khalilou Fadiga will have distracted them from their task. They'll be desperate to get one over on Patrick Vieira and co, and we're tipping them to do it.
France will be without one of the world's best players as it begins defense of its World Cup title against Senegal in the first game of this year's tournament.
Star midfielder Zinedane Zidane has a partially torn left thigh muscle that will force him to miss this game. Zidane, the 2000 FIFA Player of the Year, had been in fabulous form domestically, helping Spanish side Real Madrid capture the Champions League title. He suffered the injury in Saturday's 3-2 victory over host South Korea, France's final tuneup.
``We know the influence Zidane has and his effectiveness, but Zidane's not here, so let's not think about his injury and not feel sorry for ourselves,'' French midfielder Youri D'jorkaeff said. ``Let's think about Friday's match, which is a very important one.''
The squad that will take the pitch for Roger Lemerre has other differences from the one that captured the 1998 trophy under Aime Jacquet on its home soil with a 3-0 rout of 1994 champion Brazil. Gone from ``Les Bleus'' are defender Laurent Blanc and midfielder Didier Deschamps, both of whom retired from international play after the triumph.
France also took a blow to its midfield depth when starting midfielder Robert Pires suffered a knee injury in a friendly against Australia in November that left him unavailable.
The 34-year-old D'jorkaeff, who has 28 international goals, was a key player behind Zidane in the midfield in France's 1998 run. The former star of Juventus of Italy's Serie A likely will share playmaking and possession duties with Emmanuel Petit. The duo, along with Patrick Vieira, will try to provide service to star striker Thierry Henry.
Henry, who teamed with Vieira to help Arsenal win the English Premier League, will be lined up with fellow forwards Christophe Dugarry and David Trezeguet.
``Les Bleus'' also carry the distinction of being the only team to be holding the World Cup and European Championship titles simultaneously after claiming the latter title against Italy in 2000.
Senegal claimed one of the five spots awarded to the African continent, edging perennial World Cup contender Morocco on goal differential to win Group 3. Besides the euphoria of qualifying for the 32-team field for the first time, there is the added weight of cultural history that lends itself to this game.
The African nation was a former colony of France until breaking away in 1960. Almost all of the 23 players under coach Bruno Metsu -- himself a dual citizen of both France and Senegal due to his ancestry -- play in the top French domestic league and are familiar with the style of Les Bleus.
``Senegal is a competitive team. African football players have very good physical strength and nice technique,'' Metsu said. ``However, they need a bit of discipline.''
The ``Lions of Teranga'' are not completely unknown despite this being their first appearance at the World Cup. Senegal reached the championship game of the African Cup before losing to fellow World Cup participant Cameroon on penalty kicks.
Metsu's hopes of a solid showing in group play ride on El Hadji Diouf. The 21-year-old striker, who plays in France for Lens, had eight of Senegal's 16 goals in the 10 World Cup qualifying matches.
Senegal will be without physical midfielder Pepe Sarr, who is serving the second game of a red-card suspension received in the semifinals of the African Cup.
France will continue group play against Uruguay, while Senegal will play Denmark. Both games are Thursday, June 6.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED: France - defending World Cup champion. Senegal - won African Group 3.
STANDINGS: France - 0 points, 1st place (tied). Senegal - 0 points, 1st place (tied).
RED AND YELLOW CARDS: France - None. Senegal - M Sarr (red card, will not play).
GOALKEEPERS: France - Fabien Barthez; Gregory Coupet; Ulrich Rame. Senegal - Tony Sylva; Kalidou Cissokho; Omar Diallo.
ALL-TIME WORLD CUP RECORDS: France - 23-15-13, 11th appearance. Senegal - 0-0-0, 1st appearance.
28 May 2002, 20:20 Seoul - Tokyo
France v Senegal: Clash of the keepers
The French national side has seen its fair share of change over the last few years, as senior players have stepped down to be replaced by new stars. But continuity has been provided by Fabien Barthez, who remains first choice in goal for the 1998 FIFA World Cup France™ winners. The charismatic keeper has been amongst the best in the world for years now, and is a certainty for the opening game on 31 May, when his side take on debutants Senegal. But maybe, just maybe, Barthez will spare a thought for his opposite number - as the contrast between the two could hardly be greater.
On the one hand there is Barthez, a famous name at Manchester United and awarded pop star-like adoration by his fans. Despite a couple of howlers in the course of last season, and the odd moment of madness of the sort designed to give his defence a collective heart attack, his position was never seriously under threat, thanks to his stunning reflexes and shot-stopping ability.
Barthez remains the undisputed number one in the national side, a cornerstone of recent French success at World and European level. He has experience on his side, with just short of 50 appearances in the last six years. Team-mate Thierry Henry, when asked who he believed to be the best keeper in the world, spoke for many when he replied: "I play against him in training every day."
Keeping goal for France's opening day opponents, meanwhile, is Tony Sylva. Following Barthez' departure from AS Monaco at the beginning of 2000-2001 for the English Premier League, Sylva was expected to succeed the Frenchman in goal. However, he was forced to accept the role of understudy to Flavio Roma and saw very little competitive action. A loan spell in Corsica with French second division outfit Ajaccio, with whom he achieved promotion to the first division last season, finally gave him the chance to put his talents on display.
But many of Senegal's soccer-crazy fans were uncertain whether coach Bruno Metsu had made the right call in keeping faith with Sylva as Senegal's first-choice keeper. Should one of Africa's strongest footballing nations really be going into a FIFA World Cup Finals year with a second division goalkeeper?
During the African Nations Cup, however, the 27-year-old demonstrated just why his coach had elected to stick by him. Senegal remained unbeaten on their way to the Final, where Cameroon finally overcame them on penalties.
Sylva was named best goalkeeper of the tournament, confirmation of his vital importance to the team. Should he prove capable of maintaining his best form, it is practically certain that new job offers will come his way this summer.
To a certain degree, the France v Senegal contest is neatly encapsulated by the clash of two highly-motivated keepers, totally different in many respects but united in one: both intend giving their all to help their teams to victory.