Karembeu: Deschamps' men can reach final

FIFA World Cup winner Christian Karembeu has claimed the current France side could match the generation of 1998 in Brazil.

France qualified for Brazil 2014 through the UEFA play-offs, accounting for Ukraine 3-2 on aggregate, while they finished the 2010 edition in disarray with just one point and on goal to their names from three games.

But Karembeu claimed on Friday that France have moved on from the infighting that plagued Raymond Domenech's campaign in South Africa and have the talent to reach this year's World Cup final in Brazil under new coach Didier Deschamps.

Karembeu started four games when France won the World Cup in 1998, including the final where they defeated Brazil 3-0.

"We have a great team with many talented players," the 43-year-old former midfielder said.

"Obviously, we will be (one of) the main challengers in this World Cup (even though) it was difficult for us to qualify. But now, we have a great team, a nice team anyway."

Karembeu added: "(France) can repeat 1998 or 2006, because in 2006 we were in the final in Germany. We can go very far."

Meanwhile, current France international Blaise Matuidi warned Deschamps' men that they must not get over excited about the World Cup and use up too much energy in training and pre-tournament friendlies.

France will play Norway on Tuesday before taking on Paraguay five days later and Jamaica on June 8 before they head to Brazil.

Deschamps' team will open their World Cup campaign versus Honduras on June 15 in Porto Alegre, before fixtures against Switzerland and Ecuador in Salvador and Rio de Janeiro respectively.

"We are thinking about (the World Cup) every day," Matuidi said at a press conference at Clairefontaine.

"There is no player who will tell you the opposite. Now we really are almost there. Then, the most difficult is not to play the game before the beginning of the tournament.

"The game is on June 15, I think you have to be ready at this point. During the preparation, we will do everything in our power to be ready and fit for that day."