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Page last updated at 08:14 GMT, Tuesday, 10 June 2008 09:14 UK

Vieira fit for Netherlands clash

Patrick Vieira
Vieira missed all of France's warm-up matches

France captain Patrick Vieira will be fit to play in his side's next Euro 2008 Group C game against the Netherlands on Friday.

The 31-year-old was a doubt to play any part in the tournament after hurting his left thigh on 30 May.

Vieira missed France's opening match of the tournament, Monday's dour 0-0 draw with Romania in Zurich.

Thierry Henry also missed the Romania game with a sciatic nerve problem but will return to training on Tuesday.

Defender William Gallas says the French players want a meeting with boss Raymond Domenech to discuss how they can improve on their poor display.

"We are impatiently awaiting the meeting with the coach to talk about what didn't work," Gallas said.

"We were not able to create many chances, I think we could have done better. We know that we absolutely have to win our next match."

Maybe we should try and change our style of play and play quicker to destabilise our opponents

William Gallas
France have scored only twice from open play in the last six games, during which time they have managed just four goals, something Gallas is eager to improve upon.

"We need points, we have to win, so we need to take more risks," he explained. "Against the Netherlands we will try and accelerate the play more and create chances.

"We know it won't be easy. But we can't ask ourselves too many questions, this is a game we must win."

Vieira's return to fitness is a boost for Domenech, especially as his participation in Euro 2008 was only confirmed at the start of the week and it was unclear at that stage whether he would be fit to face the Dutch, or Italy four days later.

AC Milan-bound Mathieu Flamini had been called up as cover for Vieira, but he left the squad on Monday.

Flamini, who has agreed a deal to join AC Milan from Arsenal on July 1, was in an initial 30-man squad but did not make the final cut of 23.

Following the Romania draw, France coach Raymond Domenech admitted his side must win their remaining two group games if they are to progress and full-back Willy Sagnol believes they will have more success against the Dutch.

"I do not think the Dutch will defend like the Romanians," he said. "Although it won't be any easier, at least it will better suit the way we play."

606: DEBATE
Midfielder Jeremy Toulalan added: "Sometimes it's easier to play against great teams. At least you get into the game straight away.

"If the Dutch attack a bit more, not like the Romanians, then that is better for us."

Gallas, however, feels a change in approach is needed if France are to get out of Group C.

"We played with a handbrake on against Romania, and it is a shame," the former Chelsea stopper said.

"Maybe we should try and change our style of play and play quicker to destabilise our opponents."


see also
Pick your France XI
23 May 08 |  France
Pat Nevin's Euro 2008 verdict
04 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
You Are The Ref
03 Jun 08 |  Sport Homepage
Henry reaches 100-cap milestone
03 Jun 08 |  France
Flamini seals switch to AC Milan
05 May 08 |  Arsenal
Wenger laments Flamini departure
07 May 08 |  Arsenal


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