Domenech wary of qualification hopes

France 0 Uruguay 0

France 0 Uruguay 0

France coach Raymond Domenech believes World Cup Group A rivals Mexico and South Africa hold the early advantage after his side's goalless draw with Uruguay.

After the hosts were held to a 1-1 draw by Mexico in today's opener in Johannesburg, France then failed to win their opening game for the third successive finals tournament as they drew 0-0 at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town.

"We lacked that last bit, the last pass," Domenech admitted. "We had to guard against an unlucky counter (by the opposition).

"It is almost a beautiful 0-0, but the result is what it is. They were good, solid in defence."

Uruguay striker Diego Forlan had a few opportunities for the South Americans, whose emphasis was on keeping tight and looking to counter.

France, though, had chances to win the game, not least in the seventh minute when winger Sidney Govou somehow side-footed wide from close range after Franck Ribery's teasing left-wing cross.

The outgoing France boss added: "The other two have the advantage."

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez, whose side were not bullied in terms of possession by the 1998 champions, said: "The pitch was not particularly good. It created some problems for us controlling the ball.

"Bearing in mind what happened in the game and that France, a recent world champion who are very well organised and prepared, I think it is not a bad result, bearing all this in mind.

"The results in the second round of matches are now more important because both opening matches ended in draws."

Tabarez was forced to defend his team's discipline on the eve of the match and had to do the same tonight after substitute Nicolas Lodeiro was sent off for two bookings.

"I think football is one thing, and behaviour on the pitch is a different kettle of fish," he said. "Theoretically, any card is avoidable but I was once a player and I know what it is like to be out there. So I understand my players' point of view.

"My way of doing things has given us good results so far and we will continue on this road.

"A coach has to be critical of behaviour on the pitch that gives us yellow cards - one today was for protesting and I don't like that at all. I will talk to the players and try to stop that happening again in the future.

"The other side also had cards, remember that. If we didn't have these talking points, though, football would be very boring indeed."

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