Marc Lievremont backs France to upset New Zealand

France coach Marc Lievremont has described New Zealand's World Cup semi-final destruction of Australia as "exceptional".

But he maintains that he has the belief France can tear up the formbook and produce one of the international game's great upsets.



While New Zealand have arrived at Sunday's final unbeaten - their pool stage results included a victory over Les Bleus - France suffered defeat against Tonga and scraped past semi-final opponents Wales by a point despite their opponents having captain Sam Warburton sent off.



"We are in the final match and every time we play them (New Zealand) it is the same thing," said Lievremont, whose team will play in their changed kit of all white.



"They are always the favourites, but I believe in my team and I believe we can win."



Lievremont has named an unchanged side for the final, although he will not confirm the composition of his replacements' bench until later this week.



"It is always the same when it comes down to the All Blacks," he added.



"In the first half of the match [against Australia] they were very strong and aggressive and they were impressive. In the second half it was the same thing and the All Blacks dominated.



"You know, I expect the best from the All Blacks, and I think they played their best rugby in that match. They were exceptional."



France's World Cup campaign has been littered with constant suggestions of rifts in the camp between Lievremont and his players.



And he fanned the flames himself earlier this weekend when he described some of them as "spoiled brats" for going out to celebrate the victory over Wales when he asked them not to.



But Lievremont said today: "I think I said those things to put pressure on them.



"And when I read the headlines the next day and saw my words in the written press, I thought to myself that I had missed an opportunity to keep my mouth shut.



"What we need to do now is focus on our solidarity and our aggression."



Lievremont will become the first man to feature in a World Cup final as a player and coach this weekend - he was part of Les Bleus' beaten 1999 team - but he added: "It is very difficult to compare the two roles.



"But often what it comes down to is the small details.



"I think my first words to the players when we came to the World Cup was that everything counts, mentally and physically, and we need to be able to do everything in our power to win this match."



France lock Lionel Nallet, meanwhile, said Lievremont's criticism of players had not affected preparations for the final.



"I did not appreciate it at all, but that is just my opinion," he claimed.



"We already knew that the week was going to be complicated enough, so perhaps there was no reason to add to that pressure.



"My focus is on Sunday's match, and there are certain things that I will use to my advantage in terms of preparation.



"It wasn't anything that unsettled me in any particular way. I would like to repeat once again that it was not important."



PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
books
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn