Favoured by the hand of fate during qualifying, France will need more than good luck to make an impact in South Africa. The 1998 winners have under-performed since reaching the 2006 final and needed Thierry Henry's now infamous handball to qualify for this one. Coached by the unpopular Raymond Domenech, who will quit after the tournament, Les Bleus have their problems. They were emphatically beaten at home by Spain in March and more recently, there has been the scandal involving players being interviewed by police investigating a prostitution network in Paris.
Current champions Italy arrived at the last World Cup caught in the corruption scandal that engulfed Serie A and there would be a certain irony if France were able to draw strength from their own controversial build-up. The French players must unite. "They must be clever and forget their ego to realise that the only thing that matters is the team, not them," Domenech said.
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