Desailly optimistic about France chances

Former France defender and World Cup winner Marcel Desailly is optimistic about his country's World Cup chances in South Africa, as he believes the morale of the squad has improved and that they have the right attitude to succeed this summer.

Having failed to get out of their group during the 2008 European Championships, Raymond Domenech's squad needed a controversial goal from Thierry Henry to reach the 2010 showpiece at the expense of the Republic of Ireland.

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But despite disappointing warm-up results against China and Tunisia recently, Desailly - who won 116 caps for France - believes Domenech is getting the best out of his players.

Speaking exclusively to FourFourTwo.com he said: “I’ve been pleasantly surprised. There seems to be a positive attitude between the players in the group and the communication has been very good.

“In the past Domenech was not communicating like everyone wanted, but now you see happiness and joy and the idea that everyone is pulling together to try and achieve something.”

Desailly admits that the eyes of the world will be watching France after they only qualified courtesy of Henry's handball against Ireland in the qualification play-off.

“What is important is that they deliver the performance and cope with the pressure that is going to be on their shoulders," he added.

Henry is likely to start on the bench for the majority of France's games, but Desailly insists that there is no conflict between the former Arsenal forward and the coach and that he will be able to cope with playing only a bit-part role.

“Henry is intelligent and he can handle it. It appears as though he has talked to Domenech about it and been told ’you’re not my first choice, but I still need you in the squad as you’re one of France’s best ever strikers and scorers’. That issue seems to have been resolved.”

The former AC Milan defender was sent off in the final as France beat Brazil 12 years ago, but - with the right tactics - he is confident that his country can enjoy another memorable tournament.

“I’m just crossing my fingers that Domenech reverts to a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 with [Florent] Malouda on the left side as what Malouda has showed this season is amazing - technically and physically superb.”

FourFourTwo.com caught up with Desailly at Xbox LIVE Game with Fame, where he played 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa against members of the Xbox LIVE community to celebrate the launch of the game and support the charity 1Goal.

By Tom Parsons

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