Blanc worries about French fitness as Dutch turn on style

WITH just eight days to go before the World Cup finals start, alarm bells are starting to ring about the fitness of the hosts, the French national team.

The defender Laurent Blanc said he feared his team-mates were tired and losing the ability to dominate opponents with the sheer force of their physical presence. He added he was worried by the performances at last week's King Hassan tournament in Morocco, particularly the match against the hosts, which finished in a 2-2 draw.

"The French team has a quality which is to be able to raise their physical level to stifle their opponents," Blanc said. "Against Morocco we didn't have this capacity."

Blanc added he was concerned that the hard work done in the French training camp has left the team drained. "I hope all we've done physically up until now will pay," he said.

"The three matches in the first round of the World Cup will be identical [to the Morocco match]. The teams are going to play against us to the death."

The French coach, Aime Jacquet, did not seem worried, though. "In a week, a decisive week for closing the gaps, everything should come together," he said. His side play their last warm-up in Finland on Friday.

The Netherlands overcame conceding a surprise early goal to beat Paraguay 5-1, with Arsenal's Marc Overmars leading thefightback.

Less than two minutes into the game, a header from Paraguay's Jose Cardozo fell to Jorge Campos, who beat the Dutch goalkeeper, Edwin van de Sar, to put Paraguay ahead.

Led by Overmars on the left wing, the Dutch side pushed forward, but it was midway through the first half before their efforts finally bore fruit when the Arsenal winger beat three defenders before slipping the ball past Jose Luis Chilavert.

Overmars, showing tremendous pace, then reached a rebound off Chilavert from a Patrick Kluivert shot to score the second. He also had a hand in the third goal, slicing the ball through a defender's legs for Kluivert to tap in.

In the second half, Frank de Boer scored after being set up by Boudewijn Zenden, who had taken over from Overmars on the left. Zenden performed well and, while he failed to match Overmars's two goals, he hit the woodwork twice. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who came on midway through the second half, scored the final Dutch goal of a performance that left their coach, Guus Hiddink, with numerous options for his World Cup 22.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Administrator

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral