Blanc lined up for france job

25 days to go

Former France defender Laurent Blanc is expected to be named Raymond Domenech's successor as national coach this week after resigning from Bordeaux yesterday. The 44-year-old, who won 97 caps as a player, will take over from Domenech after the World Cup. "Bordeaux have been informed by Blanc that he wanted to answer favourably to the French federation's approaches," a statement read. Blanc led Bordeaux to a league and cup double last season after taking over in 2007. Meanwhile, Domenech has told the Arsenal centre-back William Gallas that he will be included in France's squad only if he proves his fitness by the end of the month.

Hosts South Africa strolled to a 4-0 win over Thailand to open their new Nelspruit stadium. Siphiwe Tshabalala opened the scoring before Katlego Mphela struck twice, with Bernard Parker completing the scoring.

Strikes from Lee Sung-ryeol and Bolton's Lee Chung-yong gave South Korea a 2-0 win over Ecuador in Seoul. Substitute Lee Sung-ryeol gave the home side the lead after 72 minutes against an Ecuadorean XI made up of domestic-based players, before Lee Chung-yong secured victory 12 minutes later. Mexico continued their preparations with a 1-0 success over Chile, Alberto Medina scoring the only goal in the 14th minute.

Highlights of the day

Quote of the day

"It's probably because we are so down-to-earth. The football is not the best, we don't have a lot of resources, we don't have infrastructure or stadiums like other countries have."

The Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz attempts to explain how his "small" country upstage bigger countries and reach World Cups.



Dreamer of the day

"I think Japan should be aiming to win the World Cup. All the teams we play are at a higher level so we have to have a go. If we don't play our own game we won't produce the results. If we don't try to win there's no point being there." - Midfielder Keisuke Honda is confident Japan won't be in South Africa to just make up the numbers.



Patriotism of the day

"When you wear Argentina's shirt, it's a special feeling. The pleasure it gives you is unique. You need to be ready to die for this shirt." - The Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero comes over all funny.

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