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   01 June, 2002 | 1630 IST



France get the blues

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Zidane doubtful starter v Uruguay

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Exasperated France coach Roger Lemerre does not expect injured playmaker Zinedine Zidane to be fit to play in Thursday's World Cup game against Uruguay.

Zidane, who has torn a muscle in his left thigh, was sorely missed in midfield in the world champions' shock 1-0 defeat by Senegal on Friday.

"It would surprise me if he was fit to play against Uruguay," said Lemerre who expressed deep disappointment with his team's performance.

"Zidane is working hard to recover but he has not resumed training yet. There are just four days before the Uruguay game. It will be too soon to have him back," Lemerre told a press conference on Saturday.

"He has suffered a very annoying injury as we do not know how long it will take to heal."

The world champions started with Youri Djorkaeff in the playmaking role against Senegal but their midfield was rarely able to control the game against a solid Senegalese defence.

"We cannot say that the team was blooming with inspiration yesterday," Lemerre said. "I expected much more from the squad, particularly in the last 10 minutes."


"I never had the feeling that we were playing our best. Some players were far from their best while the Senegalese were ready mentally and physically. They gave us a tough challenge."

Without blaming anyone for the defeat, Lemerre hinted that he would have to make changes for the match in Pusan on Thursday. Denmark is the other team in group A.

"I opted for Djorkaeff as I believed he was the best person to take care of the playmaking," Lemerre said. "I left him on the pitch for an hour and then I felt it was time to change."

Striker Christophe Dugarry replaced Djorkaeff with 30 minutes left without improving France's creativity.

"Now, I'm considering using Johan Micoud," Lemerre said. "It's something I'm thinking about even if I've not made up my mind yet." Micoud has had a disappointing season with Parma.

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