Ginola: France living in shadow of 1998

LONDON - Former France international David Ginola does not expect his country to make any significant impact in this year's World Cup finals and says they will not repeat their 1998 success unless they change their mentality.

He also believes that Laurent Blanc should succeed Raymond Domenech as coach after the World Cup as the strong man needed to take the international side out of the shadow cast by their victory over Brazil in Paris nearly 12 years ago.

Ginola, 42, who played for Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and Everton in a seven-year career in England, moved back to live in the country six months ago and was named as an ambassador for England's 2018 World Cup bid on Thursday.

"England are one of my favourites for the World Cup in South Africa," he told a news briefing at Wembley Stadium.

"Obviously Fabio Capello has made a tremendous difference to them.

"But in France we are experiencing some troubles. The fact that the French Federation are trying to find someone to replace Domenech after the World Cup (proves that).

"France will have to be all together to play good football and that has not been the case for the last few years.

"It seems to me that France lives with the 1998 effect, just like England have lived in the shadow of winning the World Cup in 1966.

"France still dreams about the World Cup in 1998. But the players these days are not the same players as in 1998.


"Since the 2000 European championships France has done nothing - nothing at all. In 2002 in Korea we did not even pass the first stage. We have done nothing in the European championship.

"It is a massive problem. It is not the quality of the players. The quality is there, the talent is there, but the results aren't.

"The French players are fantastic but they don't seem to play together as a team. That's why Fabio Capello is very good for England. He makes them into a team. He brings all the talent together, and that is what a team is all about."

Ginola, who played 17 times for his country, was famously dropped after being blamed by coach Gerard Houllier for a mistake against Bulgaria in a qualifier in 1993 that led to defeat and cost them their place in the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

Despite his devastating dribbling skills and touch on the ball, he never played for France again, missing out on the 1998 World Cup and 2000 Euro title success despite being at the peak of his career which saw him named England's Footballer of the Tear in 1999.

A decade on, he said France now needed a tough character to lead them in the years ahead.

"I think Laurent Blanc could be the solution for the next few years but obviously he has a lot of work to do with Girondins Bordeaux. They are top of the league and doing well.

"There is talk about Didier Deschamps, talk about Jean Tigana -- former players. All of them are good solutions but they need the strength to face the Federation and say: 'I am the boss, I am in charge, I'm making the decisions'."