Football: Platini warns of fear factor

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The Independent Online
MICHEL PLATINI warned yesterday that coaches could ruin the greatest football show on earth.

Platini, the former French captain who is now the vice-president of the French organising committee, said: "All the laws have been put in place so that the players can play. Strikers are going to be protected, but the only problem will be coaches who are afraid of losing and being sacked."

Platini also poured cold water on hopes of a French triumph. "France can win, but to do that the players must be at their very best and everything has to go right for them. The public are not fooled. They know France are outsiders," he added.

"Brazil are favourites but it is not always the best team who wins. In 1982 and in 1986 Brazil had the best team and did not win. There are a lot of teams here that can go the whole way. England, Yugoslavia, who probably play the best football, Holland, Spain, Argentina are all possibles."

Platini also hit back vehemently at the critics who had claimed that the job of organising the World Cup was beyond him. "When I get involved in something I go all the way. For the past five years I have worked every day on the World Cup. Not for any praise, but because I wanted to take part and make it work," he added.