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Monday, 27 May, 2002, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Zidane sits out France opener
Zinedine Zidane holds his head in his hands after tearing his thigh on Sunday
Zidane is distraught after his injury on Sunday
Zinedine Zidane will definitely miss France's World Cup curtain-raiser against Senegal.

And though the midfield star is confident of shrugging off the thigh muscle tear for their second group A game against Uruguay, he remains doubtful at this stage.

As Zidane struggles for fitness, France team-mate David Trezeguet claims the inspirational French midfielder had injury worries before the friendly with South Korea.

Trezeguet said: "As usual, he wanted to show what he can do against Korea.

Open Quote
Now I just have to rest three or four days and let nature do its work
Close Quote
Zinedine Zidane

"We talked about it and he knew that after all the games he has played this year there was a chance he could get injured.

"But he always stays optimistic," said the Juventus striker.

"Of course we will miss Zidane when he doesn't play.

"He represents so much for us. Zidane is the head of the team, the motor, so his injury is a real shame."

Zidane himself confirmed he will miss France's first game, but remains optimistic that he could be fit for the crucial second match against Uruguay.

Zidane said: "The scan clearly shows a little tear. It's not really a serious injury.

"I'm feeling pretty confident I can play against Uruguay.

"Now I just have to rest three or four days and let nature do its work."

French Football Federation chairman Claude Simonet caused confusion with an initial statement that said Zidane would definitely miss the first two games.

But he later backtracked, saying: "It would be prudent for Zidane not to play in the first two matches of the World Cup so that he recovers fully.

"But it is for the coach Roger Lemerre and Zidane to make the decision."

Zinedine Zidane applies an ice pack to his torn thigh muscle
Zidane applied ice to his torn thigh muscle

Lemerre admitted he would be worried by Zidane's absence.

The France coach said: "The French group is obviously stronger with him.

"Zidane is an exceptional player and when he is in the team he always gives it life."

To highlight his point, Lemerre's team struggled to victory in Zidane's absence.

"When a team like Korea is playing in front of a home crowd they are a very hard team to beat," Lemmere said.

"But then again we never gave up and we managed to win the game after falling behind.

"We had a difficult time with their strength of spirit - Guus Hiddink has done well," he added of South Korea's Dutch coach.

  • A French XI beat South Korean club side Anyang Cheetahs 2-1 in a friendly match in Seoul on Monday.

    The goals came from Thierry Henry and Djibril Cisse. France's Mikael Sylvestre scored an own goal.

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