Zinedine Zidane believes the European Championship qualifiers offer a ‘new start’ to the French side after after their dismal World Cup finals campaign.

‘Soccer has never been easy to deal with and our duty isnow to help the young ones find their place in the squad,’ he told a news conference before holders France’s opening qualifier in Cyprus on Saturday.

‘We must give France a new start,’ he added.

several key players like Fabien Barthez, Vincent Candela, David Trezeguet and Thierry Henry missing Saturday’s game through injury and others such as Frank Leboeuf, Christophe Dugarry and Youri Djorkaeff now retired, new coach Jacques Santini has turned to youth in ann attempt to raise the French spirits.

‘We must prepare for the future now. I think the ‘oldies’ and the ‘newies’ can work along together pretty well,’ said Zidane.

‘This is not anew team that we have. It’s just that we needed to renew the squad.

‘I can remember when I was a little younger I was happy that guys like (Bernard) Lama or (Didier) Deschamps had welcomed me here.’

‘We must realise thatthere are no friendly matches any more,’ continued Zidane. ‘We must snatch points and I’m certain they (Cyprus) are not going to let us play.’