Former Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra has claimed that he is not worried about France's chances at the 2022 FIFA World Cup despite their defeat to Tunisia.
Manager Didier Deschamps made an eyebrow-raising nine changes against the African nation on 30 November from the side that beat Denmark 2-1. A second-half goal from Wahbi Khazri ended up being the only goal of the game.
France sealed qualification to the last 16 after winning their first two group-stage games. Evra, who took to the pitch for Les Bleus at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, was not bothered about the defeat against Tunisia.
He claimed that the third game in the group stage is to hand minutes to the fringe players if qualification has already been sealed. Evra told Betfair:
"I've been in a World Cup and the third game is for the squad if you've already qualified. The manager needed to keep the squad happy.
"That's why I'm not worried, but the only thing you can say, when some people don't watch the games is that France were beaten by Tunisia, so other teams could be thinking, 'okay, we can beat France too'.
"It doesn't matter if they didn't play their best 11, France have lost one game, so this could be a bit of a concern. But as a manager, I would do the same because I want my squad to be happy."
Deschamps had a similar situation in Brazil when his team sealed their spot in the last 16 of the World Cup with a game left. Evra was one of the first-team regulars to be rested in the third group-stage game, which ended in a 0-0 draw against Ecuador.
However, they crashed out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in the quarter-finals to eventual winners Germany.
Evra expects the pressure to be on France in FIFA World Cup last 16
On paper, there wouldn't have been many more favorable draws for the two-time World Cup winners than facing Poland in the last 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The Poles, led by Robert Lewandowski, qualified from the group stage of the World Cup for the first time in 36 years. Les Bleus are the overwhelming favorites - a label that comes with its own expectations.
England, meanwhile, will play against Senegal in the round of 16. Evra, who played for Manchester United for eight-and-a-half years, said, via the aforementioned source:
"I'm expecting a tough game and I'm expecting France and England to be under pressure, not Senegal and Poland."
The winners of the two ties will face each other in the quarter-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.