Domenech still confident over France hopes

France coach Raymond Domenech insists his team still have their destiny in their own hands despite their disappointing start to the Group C campaign.

Les Bleus put in a laboured performance in the goalless draw against Romania in Zurich on Monday and were jeered by sections of their own fans after the final whistle.

With matches against heavyweights Holland and Italy to come, a top-two finish is definitely not guaranteed and the bore draw against Romania was not well received back in France.

However, Domenech is not pressing the panic button just yet, insisting his side have the time to turn things around.

Ahead of Friday’s clash with a Holland team who thrashed Italy 3-0 in their opener, Domenech said: “Little has changed.

“For the time being, everything still depends on us – the results are down to us.

“To say that we are going into the matches against Holland and Italy with a smile on our faces, saying that life is great, that would be going a bit too far. But those teams must also be saying to themselves that it won’t be easy against France and Romania.

“We are approaching this game in the same manner. We have to win but we mustn’t lose.

“I haven’t calculated what we will need on the last day (of qualifying). For now, the aim is to play to win.”

The Dutch proved they are genuine contenders by stunning the world champions in their opening game but that performance did not surprise Domenech.

“No, I have known for a long time what they are a capable of doing and they were impressive,” he said.

“How they play with the ball, their movement – we know all that.

“It isn’t usual for Italy (to concede three goals) but it is a special competition and they were playing an exceptional team. But we will see – it is at the end of the battle that it all counts.”

There have been calls in France for Domenech to change his tactics and be more ambitious going forward.

There was no pace to their attacks against Romania, although the oppressive heat and an opposition who were intent on playing for a draw did not help.

Domenech is set to make changes to his starting line-up, not least because Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry look to be available again.

The experienced duo missed the opener because of thigh problems but featured in a practice match against regional youth players yesterday.

Henry scored one goal, set others up and did not look to be burdened by the problem he has had for about a week.

The Barcelona star could replace Nicolas Anelka up front while midfielder Vieira, who has been striving for full fitness since he sustained a small tear to his thigh in training on May 30, could also start against Holland.

“He is progressing normally,” Domenech said of his captain, who could replace Jeremy Toulalan.

“He played 45 minutes without a problem, which was always going to happen. Today is Wednesday, Friday is Friday, so we will see.”

Whether Domenech makes changes elsewhere remains to be seen, but the coach added: “All options are open, all the choices are open.

“We have two days of training left and we will see what happens and how things evolve.

“But all we did was draw against Romania. This team took four points from six off Holland in qualification, without conceding.

“So do we have to change everything? The aim in these tournaments is to get better and better, and we are slowly progressing.”

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