Raymond Domenech remained sanguine about France’s prospects, despite seeing his side labour to a disappointing 0-0 draw with Romania in their opening Group C game.
“As I said at the draw, it’s a difficult group – the teams are good, solid, tough and well-prepared,” said Domenech.
“I said the same six months ago and it was confirmed today. I think all the teams will be worried about getting through. Every team will find it difficult to beat the others. We have two matches to play and this group will stay strong until the end.
“I would have liked to have won this game 10-0 with a lot of very good chances, but that didn’t happen. I will still be disappointed if we don’t qualify, but we will have to play well in the two remaining matches.
“Romania defended well. They played twice against the Netherlands and the Dutch didn’t score. The situation was quite similar to the opening 2006 World Cup match against Switzerland – it was a hot day, we were all a little bit nervous and tense.”
France badly missed the drive of Patrick Vieira in midfield, but the Inter player is hopeful of being fit for Friday’s encounter with Holland.
“Patrick Vieira is doing better,” confirmed Domenech. “He’s training with the rest of the group. We hope we will have a couple more weeks [in the tournament] and he will be completely fit.
Also missing from the starting line-up against Romania was France’s all-time leading goalscorer Thierry Henry, but Domenech believes he will return for the Holland game.
“Thierry Henry is doing much better too – he had a small problem and was not quite ready to play today, but he should be back on track from tomorrow,” he continued.
Responding to a claim by Romania coach Victor Piturca that France were not the force they once were, the French coach appeared to be in agreement.
“[Romania’s coach] may be right [about France being weaker than they once were]. Or perhaps Romania have better players now.”