French Coach Jacques Santini is confident his team are heading towards a bright new future.
Speaking after his third game in charge, an impressive 5-0 victory over Slovenia in Group 1, he expressed his delight at the way his team are taking shape. His previous two matches in charge had yielded disappointing results. A draw with Tunisia in a friendly, and a hard fought 2-1 victory over Cyprus in their opening Euro 2004 qualifying fixture.
Goals from Patrick Vieira, Sylvian Wiltord, substitute Sydney Govou and two from Steve Marlet ensured that the French breezed past the Slovenians.
Santini declared: “We have opened a new chapter in our history. It takes time but things are improving. I have begun to get a clearer picture of what I want to build.”
The nature of the result pleased Santini greatly. He stated: “it was important for the team’s confidence. We have taken a great step towards our goal which remains to qualify for the European championship and defend our title.”
The introduction of new players to the team is proceeding smoothly. Whilst singling out the impressive debut of William Gallas, Santini was keen to emphasise the strength in depth of the squad.
He said “Gallas never let anything go. He is strong physically and has great pace. But he is not the only one. There are many others who can play in this squad.”
Despite all the plaudits Santini remains focused on the task in hand. France face Malta in Valletta on Wednesday with Santini determined to gain a further three points.
He said: “we want nothing less than nine points from the first three games, we must keep focused and set our minds on the next game.”
In the other game in group 1, Malta prepared for the visit of the French by losing 2-0 at home to Israel.