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Many players from same club is a bonus - France coach Rouxel wary of New Caledonia threat ahead of FIFA U17 World Cup clash

SENIOR ANALYST
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197   //    08 Oct 2017, 09:13 IST

France head coach Lio in the pre-match press conference
France head coach Rouxel in the pre-match press conference

France face FIFA U17 World Cup debutants New Caledonia tomorrow in a clash that has more to it than just football. The island nation of New Caledonia is or rather was a territory of France and it would be in some sorts a match between a nation and its colonial masters. It will be a match of high emotional and political significance. Both the teams held their official pre-match conference yesterday here at the IGA sports complex in Guwahati.

FRANCE

France’s Manager Lionel Rouxel stated that the game tomorrow against New Caledonia will be a strong and emotional affair given the history between the two nations. He also went on to mention that it will not be an easy outing against New Caledonia as they will look to showcase their skills and brand of football. 

Having many players from the same clubs and academies is an added bonus for the team as players already have experience of playing with each other,” was the coach's statement when asked about the impact of having players from the same club sides and academies had on the national team.

As for the FIFA U17 World Cup, the coach feels it's the best platform for the young kids to showcase their skills, and improve and take their game to a different level.

“Incredible” is the word Rouxel used to describe his experience of India till now, he was also happy with the warm reception that the team has received from the people of Guwahati. He also mentioned that playing all their three group games in the same ground and city is an advantage for them as travelling long distances can have an adverse effect on the players. 

The team captain Claudio Gomes of PSG went on to say that for tomorrow’s game and for the whole tournament he would bank on every single team member to put their best foot forward and give everything they have to ensure that their aspirations are met. He also put an emphasis on winning the first game and mentioned that winning the first game is always important and they as a team want to start the tournament in the best possible way.

The Coach went on to mention that they have no injury issues and he has his full squad of 21 to choose from for tomorrows game and anyone could make it to the playing XI tomorrow.

Very difficult to adjust as the temperature difference between France and India is nearly 20°c and the humidity levels are very high but we have to manage,” was the coach’s statement when asked about the weather conditions in India and if was it difficult to adjust to the heat and humidity. 

He also said that France wanted to stay in India for as long as possible and go as far as possible. 

The coach did put an emphasis on set pieces and said that they liked to play as a unit so defending as a unit during set plays and attacking as a unit gave them better chances at scoring or defending than relying on individual brilliance. He also said that it was a tournament where all the players have a chance to showcase their skills and it would be harsh to single out any single player.

NEW CALEDONIA

The small island nation near the coast of Australia plays its first ever World Cup and their U17 national team's coach Dominique Wacalie stated that as a country they had around only 20 full sized football fields and they look everywhere from the streets to the farms for talents as the country still doesn’t have a professional set up. 

Dominique also mentioned that it will a good and exciting world cup for them and they will play their best game. 

"Everyone is here to play their best game, and all the groups are equally tough," was the coach's reply when quizzed about the group and how difficult it was. 

The team captain Jekob Jeno stated: "As the coach mentioned it is the first World Cup for us and we will look to play a good brand of football," when asked about his expectation from the World Cup. He also went on to add that he or his teammates were not afraid to be facing France in the first game. 

Coach Dominique mentioned that playing France in the first game is going to be a historic moment for New Caledonia as New Caledonia is a territory of France and many players of New Caledonian Origin have played for France. He also said that as New Caledonia have made a mark in world football by qualifying for the FIFA U17 World Cup, players of New Caledonian origins can now think of playing for New Caledonia rather than playing for France or some other country.

The domestic football circuit in New Caledonia is very bleak and most of the players in the U17 team are amateur footballers with only midfielder Cyril Nypie having had professional club level experience in France when he had a stint with French club Stade Rennais' youth team. 

"France is a big team and we are looking forward to the game, we have been preparing well for the match and working very hard in training but sorry I cannot divulge into any of our tactics for tomorrows game at the moment,” is what coach said when asked about his tactical plans for tomorrows game against the group favourites. 

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