Laurent Blanc has revealed that one of the rehearsal draws for the 2018 World Cup threw up a group of death involving favourites France and Spain, as he said the Spanish - and England - being placed in pot two will be "a problem" for everyone else.
As a former World Cup-winning captain with France in 1998, Blanc is in Moscow as a draw assistant and spent Thursday afternoon going through the process.
"We did so many draws, you know," Blanc said. "We did four practice draws and I think tomorrow we’ll do one or two more. For your information, in one of the draws, we had France-Spain.”
“Spain is going to be a problem, because they’re in pot two. I would think that with Spain and England in pot 2, there are a lot of teams that will want to avoid them.”
“You can’t do anything about it [as a coach]. You just wait. You need things to go your way a little bit to win the World Cup and that starts right here, with the draw. Any draw, whether that’s in a World Cup or a Champions League, for example. So tomorrow is an important day. One, to know your opponents. But also to start planning, as a coach, to know where you going to play. It’s good to have games close together so that you have as little travel and as much recovery time as possible.”
Blanc does not actually believe his own country are among the top band of favourites.
“I think that all of the people I’ve spoken with about France’s potential agree that it’s huge. Maybe they still lack a little bit of experience and maturity. It’s true that there are teams – through their results, their experience and their history – that come in as powerful favourites for this World Cup. But I don’t think France is far off.
“I won’t be very original. I would say Brazil, Argentina look very strong from South America. In Europe, Spain and Germany – you can always count on the Germans. And I think that the two European sides that maybe would be there, without being called favourites, are Belgium and France. Then maybe some other teams will do big things and create a surprise. But we can’t know that today.”
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