Zidane tips France for strong World Cup campaign

The former midfielder believes Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery can combine to fire his country to a good tournament and thinks there could be a European winner

France legend Zinedine Zidane believes Les Bleus are well placed to produce a strong World Cup campaign in Brazil this summer.

Didier Deschamps’ side almost failed to qualify for next month’s competition but eventually prevailed in a dramatic two-legged play-off tie against Ukraine.

Zidane feels the likes of Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery will come to the fore at the event and is confident his former side are one of the teams capable of mounting a serious challenge for glory.

“France should do well,” the current Real Madrid assistant coach told The Times of India.

“Last time in South Africa they disappointed everyone but this time under Didier Deschamps they are playing well.

“In the qualifiers they were second to Spain and did well in the play-off. Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery are in great form.

“I know Ribery’s Bayern were ousted by Benzema’s Real Madrid in the Champions League, but I am eager to see their combination play at the World Cup. It should be a great sight.”

France will be confident of progressing past the group stage after being drawn in a manageable looking pool against Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras.

Zidane, though, has warned his fellow countrymen not to become complacent in their early matches or they could find themselves on an early plane home.

He continued: “You are there because you are among the best 32 teams in the world.

“In Group E, there is one nation from Europe who are aware of our football style and the other two will be playing in their own continent. It is not at all an easy group.”

Many experts are backing Brazil and Argentina as favourites to win the tournament because it is being hosted in their home continent of South America, where no European side has previously won the trophy.

But Zidane has dismissed that view and believes France, along with the likes of Germany, Spain and Europe’s other top nations, are more than capable of triumphing this summer.

“I cannot say for sure, but I feel that a European nation can win the coveted cup in Latin America,” said the 41-year-old.

“Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and France can go all the way, with the Germans being the best prepared side.

“Brazil can expect an extravagant football bonanza from the European nations.”

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