France captain Patrick Vieira said on Monday he had not recovered sufficiently from his left thigh injury to to play in his country's crunch Euro 2008 Group C match on Tuesday against world champions Italy.
The 31-year-old 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winning midfielder – who has won 105 caps – had been struggling even to make the tournament after picking up an injury prior to it.
“I manage to train but I still have this pain which stops me from accelerating, or to kick the ball,” admitted the Inter Milan player.
“It really pisses me off, I don't know where I am, I really don't know when I will be ready to play again,” added Vieira, referring to the tournament.
That could well be a moot point as the 2006 World Cup finalists could well go out of the tournament on Tuesday not only if they lose to Italy but even if they win and Romania beat group winners Holland.
Vieira, who was plagued by injuries last season at Inter Milan, could well also produce some interesting revelations about how his injury was treated by the French medical staff, though, he only hinted at that on Monday.
“I don't really want to go into the details at the moment,” Vieira replied when asked about how well his injury had been diagnosed and the treatment he had received.
“They (the details) will come out one day. All I will say is that the picture that was coming back to me about the extent of my injury wasn't very clear,” he added.
Vieira's continued absence and implied criticism will heap more pressure on beleaguered coach Raymond Domenech, who had recalled Mathieu Flamini as cover for Vieira prior to the final decision being taken over his fitness before their first game against Romania.
Domenech had pledged that his regime would not take the same risks by keeping on an injured, if talismanic, figure as Vieira in the squad as Roger Lemerre did at the 2002 World Cup with the similarly incapacitated Zinedine Zidane.
The latter did play in desperate circumstances in the final first round match against Denmark but it didn't stop the then world champions losing that match and going out out in the first round.
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