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   June 4, 2002 | 1700 IST



France get the blues

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France determined to bounce back

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Troubled France have put their shock 1-0 loss to Senegal behind them as they prepare to try to get their World Cup campaign back on track in Thursday's group A match against Uruguay.

Tuesday's training session was held in a much more upbeat mood as the world champions decided to accept responsibility for their own situation going into a game neither side can afford to lose.

"We are not children any more," defender Bixente Lizarazu said. "We are aware of what our responsibility is. We know what we are aiming at.

"We have two matches to play and we don't want to have any regrets. We feel much better physically and mentally now."

An upset defeat was perhaps what the French, widely considered to be hot favourites before the start of the tournament, needed to keep their feet on the ground.

"We can't hide ourselves behind anything any more," midfielder Claude Makelele said. "Our state of mind has completely changed.

"It's obviously a tricky situation but the squad is ready. We have a crucial match in front of us and we know what we have to do. We don't need anyone to tell us."


Midfielder Johan Micoud, who could be slotted into a playmaking role on Thursday with injury doubts over Zinedine Zidane and Youri Djorkaeff, said the whole atmosphere in the French team has changed over the last two days.

Micoud told a press conference that the players have talked a lot to each other this week, more than they usually do during preparations.

"We spent more time together during the meals," he said. "We are more available to each other. The guys hang around at the coffee shop of the hotel instead of going back to their rooms.

"This defeat was hard to swallow and it took us a whole day to do so. But we have realised we have been slapped in the face. So now we can keep crying for a week or we can try to bounce back."

The continuing absence of the inspirational Zidane, who is almost certain to miss the Uruguay game because of a torn thigh muscle, is another problem the players believe they can overcome.

"No messiah is going to save us," Makelele said. "We have our fate in our hands. We will get out of this all together."

Uruguay lost their opening game of the tournament 2-1 to Denmark, who meet Senegal on Thursday.

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