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Friday, 31 May, 2002, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
Lemerre rues lack of quality
Thierry Henry
Henry hit the crossbar in search of a French equaliser
French coach Roger Lemerre blamed a shortage of quality from his side for a shock 1-0 World Cup opening game defeat by Senegal.

Pape Bouba Diop's first-half goal for unfancied Senegal proved the winner against a French side who twice hit the woodwork.

Lemerre saluted Senegal's performance against his reigning champions who missed the invention of injured star player Zinedine Zidane.

"It's a big, big performance for Senegal," said Lemerre. "They used good tactics and they played very well.

Open Quote
It's hard on us but it's up to us to deal better with that type of situation
Close Quote
French coach Roger Lemerre

"But we cannot say, after this result, that the future of the French team in our group is finished."

He continued: "Senegal were well-organised with a five-man midfield.

"When a team are well-grouped together, you need speed and spontaneity.

"We were not able to cut through their defensive net. They had one counter-attack and they scored. That's football but we would have liked a happier start.

"In this kind of match, when a team know what they have to do, it's hard. They did not miss the target.

"It's hard on us but it's up to us to deal better with that type of situation."

But Lemerre remained philosophical about France's chances of qualifying for the second stage.

Lemerre added: "Nothing is ruined, there are two more games to play. If by chance we won those two matches, we'd be in the last 16."

Leboeuf lament

Meanwhile former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf admitted that the world champions had desperately missed injured playmaker Zinedine Zidane.

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Zidane can't be replaced and Youri (Djorkaeff) has done his best
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Frank Leboeuf
"We have run for miles for nothing, " said Leboeuf.

"For the last 15 minutes, I've spent my time only going back and forth. We needed Zizou (Zidane) to keep the ball.

"This a collective and not an individual defeat. Zidane can't be replaced and Youri (Djorkaeff) has done his best.

"You mustn't put the blame on one person."

"We are really disappointed as we felt we were very close to something great.

"The Senegalese have had only one chance and they have scored. On top of that it was a silly goal," Leboeuf added.


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France captain Marcel Desailly
"Of course we're disappointed"
France midfielder Emmanuel Petit
"It was a bad day"
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GROUP A
  P GD PTS
DENMARK 3 +3 7
SENEGAL 3 +1 5
URUGUAY 3 -1 2
FRANCE 3 -3 1




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