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   00 May, 2002 | 0000 IST



France get the blues

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Lauren sore about Cameroon build up

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Cameroon midfielder Lauren has angrily criticised his team's World Cup preparations, saying the travel chaos that delayed their arrival in Japan by five days was no way to prepare for soccer's biggest tournament.

"The way we travelled here was terrible," Lauren told Reuters on the eve of their second group E game against Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

"The way that we prepared wasn't good enough to play for a tournament at the highest level like the World Cup."

The 25-year-old Arsenal player said he did not yet want to start apportioning blame for the travel fiasco during which Cameroon were delayed in both Paris and Thailand on their way out to the Far East.

But he hinted that the organisation around the African champions' squad was not up to scratch.

"Around the team (it) is terrible. At the highest level you must prepare for the World Cup in a different way if you want to do something. It's just not good enough.

"When we get to the end of this tournament we will say something, but not yet."

Lauren says the problems have probably helped to foster a better team spirit among the Cameroon squad, who trained exuberantly at Saitama Stadium on Wednesday.

"I don't want to talk about it now, I'm thinking about a win tomorrow. That's why I say we have a great spirit because everybody is happy now we are training. Everybody just wants to play."


Lauren said Saudi Arabia could be dangerous opponents following their 8-0 humiliation by Germany and Cameroon, quarter-finalists in 1990, could not afford to underestimate them.

"It's going to be difficult because they lost on Saturday. If they lose they will go out. They need the points.

"It may be dangerous to play them now, they are on fire after losing 8-0. They want to show everybody they can win again. We know that and we will be trying to win the game."

Lauren said the Cameroon squad had watched a video of the first half of the Saudi's defeat as part of their preparations.

"We watched them on TV yesterday so we know how they play. The Irish game was disappointing. We will try to play like we used to and try to score goals.

"It is very important for us to win tomorrow."

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