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Friday, June 5, 2009

France v Turkey: Preview

Lyon striker Karim Benzema has urged his France team-mates to perform as well as possible in tomorrow's friendly with Turkey to put the nightmare against Nigeria behind them.
Les Bleus slipped to a 1-0 defeat on Tuesday in St Etienne amid continuous jeers from the sparse crowd.

Benzema and his fellow Lyon players were singled out for special attention at the home of their club's bitter rivals but he is confident similar scenes on and off the pitch will not be repeated tomorrow.

"We want to win this match and show that we made a mistake against Nigeria,'' Benzema said.

"And there the fans will be behind us. Turkey have very good supporters, there will be an atmosphere in the stadium.

"We have to win to change things with the fans. There have been a lot of matches where we weren't great, where we didn't have any success.

"We've made approaches to the fans. On the pitch we applaud them, we thank them.

"Now the people are coming to see a football match. We have to put on a show for them, be strong on the pitch, prove something because we need them.''

Benzema admits the jeers were hard for him and his team-mates.

"I just felt as if I was playing a Lyon-St Etienne match,'' added the 21-year-old. "It was disappointing, we represent the national team.

"I didn't understand the supporters. I wasn't expecting whistles like that every time I touched the ball.

"It always annoys you a bit. In a football match you need the supporters to push you, to give you that desire to look for something.

"I understand those who whistle after defeats. To be whistled like that, no. But I have to leave that to one side.''

The supporters have grown more and more disappointed with the France team following a dismal Euro 2008 and a poor start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Les Bleus lie second in Group Seven with 10 points from five games after losing to Austria and being held to a draw by Romania.

Florent Malouda, Cedric Carrasso and Franck Ribery are all doubts but coach Raymond Domenech has an otherwise full squad at his disposal.

France captain Patrick Vieira, who has had an injury-riddled season and before Tuesday's game last featured for Les Bleus in November, could play his second match in four days after declaring himself fit.

"The coach and I agreed we would wait for today's training session,'' he said. "I feel fine, there's no reason not to play.''

Turkey had a good start to their qualifying campaign but back-to-back defeats against Spain has dropped them to third.

However, coach Fatih Terim is confident his team will be in South Africa next summer and views the France match as the best preparation ahead of Turkey's next qualifier at home to Estonia in September.

"It will be a serious game,'' he said. "They were the world and European champions.

"It's important to play with the team well, and not act as individuals who are not part of a team.

Source: Wires
"It will be good experience. Whatever the result the match will be useful.''


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