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Wednesday, 19 June, 2002, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK

French inquest continues

World Football's Ed Harry talks to France Football magazine's Jean-Jacques Vierne about what went wrong for Les Bleus.

France has been trying to come to terms with its world cup nightmare.

After three games, one point and not a single goal, the world champions, and many peoples' favourites, have come home.

France Football magazine journalist Jean-Jacques Vierne said the team had suffered physically after a demanding domestic season.

"France has always been - for four, five or six years - a physically strong team, but now it's a physically weak team," he said.

"Some players are out injured, and some are completely tired, especially the players playing in England.

"Viera is very tired, Henry was very low before being suspended.

No luck

"The problem is the English Premiership is a very hard championship, they played very many games and the legs were tired."

And he added that the French had not had the luck they'd enjoyed in winning the European Championship and the last World Cup.

"Everything went against the French team. In '98 and at Euro 2000 it was always for them, now its always against them.

"The game of football is like that. Always they had more opportunities than the opponent, but they never scored.

They're too physically tired and mentally maybe, too."

Many people have criticised coach Roger Lemerre's decision not to make more use of outstanding young striker Djibril Cisse.

But Vierne says it wouldn't have made a difference.

"If Cisse plays I think he must play centre-forward," he said.

"And when he plays for his club Auxerre he plays deep, running from midfield. He must have a place to run, he's a very fast runner.

"Denmark played with eight defenders and there was no place for him, I don't think he's very good in the little spaces."

He claimed the French would soon be back at the top of the world.

"The French were the finest side at the Under 21 Championships in Switzerland three weeks ago, so there are players coming through.

"Maybe they will not be as good as Desailly and so on at first, but they will come.

"We had to lose one time, no one can win three, four or five championships in a row."

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