New France coach Jacques Santini has issued a rallying cry to his players as they embark on the defence of their European Championship crown.
France weere a major disappointment at the World Cup this summer, crashing out at the first round stage without scoring and Santini has demandedthe players restore some pridein French football.
‘We have a duty to be in Portugal in 2004,’ said Santini on the eve of is first competitive match in charge.
‘We have a duty to finish ahead of the others in our group. I’ve told the players that wearing the French colours must be an honour.’
‘France must retrieve its standing in the game,’ Santini said.
‘I’m here to help them qualify for the European Championship and I’ll review my situation at the end of the qualifying games in October 2003.’
Zinedine Zidane, who missed the opening two Wrrld Cup matchethrough injury, stressed the importance of hard work.
‘The coach has reminded everyone that there was some work to do,’ said Zidane. ‘Everyone has to pull for everyone else.’
France have been drawn to play against Israel, Malta and Slovenia in qualifying Group One.