France look to youth against Honduras

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Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps’ time in charge has led to wave of optimism surrounding the country’s batch of young stars and that has been stoked by 4-0 and 8-0 thrashings of Norway and Jamaica respectively in pre-tournament friendlies.

“We’ve gone through a rebuilding phase because people still associate the team with Knysna in South Africa (when the players went on strike) and the way in which we exited the tournament,” striker Olivier Giroud said.

“The French public hasn’t forgotten what happened and we’re going to show them that we can keep our flag flying high during the World Cup.”

“The majority of players weren’t in that squad, and we’d rather look to the future rather than the past. “

Giroud will be up against Antoine Griezmann for a place in the starting line-up in place of Franck Ribery, who was ruled out of the tournament by injury.

“Franck has had back problems for weeks, and hadn’t trained very much with us. It wasn’t a huge surprise,” added Giroud.

“We have to leave all that to one side; it’s already been difficult enough for him. It’s unfortunate that he won’t be with us, but we’ll do our best to ensure that he’s proud of our performances.”

Griezmann has been in great form for France scoring three goals in four appearances since making his debut in March.

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