Sunday, January 29, 2023

Domenech to take it to the limit for Vieira

SoccerNews in European Championships, Ligue 1 2 Jun 2008


France coach Raymond Domenech said on Monday that he would make a decision about whether to retain injured captain Patrick Vieira in the squad on the eve of their first match against Romania next Monday.

The 31-year-old Inter Milan star injured his left thigh while training on Friday leading Domenech on Monday to call up AC Milan's former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini, who has just two caps to Vieira's 105.

“A player who is injured is always disturbing,” said Domenech.

“And what's more this is a player with 105 caps and captain of the team.

“We have already experienced such situations like in the 2002 World Cup finals with Zizou (Zinedine Zidane) and we know what the consequences of that can have (France went out in the first round).

“We must heed that so we don't make the same mistakes.

“Zizou's thigh problem affected him and it was difficult to motivate him.”

Domenech said he was neither optimistic nor pessimistic about Vieira's injury but he conceded that it was a problem he could have done without so close to the first match with Romania, which takes place next Monday.

“With seven days to go, I've known easier situations to handle,” said Domenech.

“This is more worrying. There isn't a lot of time left, but at the same time there is still some time.

“My dictum is still the same: By June 9 it is imperative that everybody is ready.”

Vieira – a member of the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winning sides – is definitely out of the Romania clash but Domenech will hope that a player described by fellow squad member Sebastien Squillaci as integral to their campaign will be fit for the matches against Italy and Holland.

Domenech, who defied his critics to guide France to the 2006 World Cup final where they lost to Italy, said that Vieira was determined to recover.

“I sense that Vieira is determined to be fit, when he could have given up instead. But he really wants to do everything possible to prepare himself for the tournament,” said Domenech.

However, Domenech admitted that were France to be without one of their icons then things could become difficult especially as they are in the 'Group of Death' with Romania, Italy and Holland.

“Yes, when Pat is at his best he is irreplaceable… If we are pushing the deadline to the limit is is because of that.

“I know all about his ability to motivate himself and inspire the others.”

Domenech said that there had been some debate over who would replace Vieira.

“There was a discussion over whether Mathieu (Flamini) or Alou (Diarra) should be recalled.

“However, I would say Flamini has more variety to his game, than the other midfielders who could have been called up.”

Domenech has till the eve of the Romania match to replace Vieira if he feels that he won't be fit.

The man most likely to fill in for him in the starting XI is Lyon's Jeremy Toulalan, who has 12 caps to his name.


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