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Zidane injury could have silver lining

© Reuters 2002

PARIS (Reuters) - The absence of injured playmaker Zinedine Zidane could have a positive spin-off for France as the defending champions prepare to face Senegal in the opening match of the World Cup, according to former national coach Aime Jacquet.

"I have noticed some of them take more initiative when he is not there", Jacquet said in an column for the daily Le Monde.

"The fact that Zinedine Zidane pulled out of the first game is a terrible blow. But it can be beneficial for some players.

"Others also know they have to face up to their responsibilities, like Patrick Vieira, who is not the same player when Zidane does not play."

Zidane, who scored twice in France's victory over Brazil in the final four years ago, has a torn thigh muscle and has been ruled out of at least one game.

Jacquet added he was not concerned about Friday's game in Seoul, saying that France had beaten Paraguay in the 1998 tournament without Zidane. "And Friday's game is not as decisive," he added.

France also face Uruguay and Denmark in group A.

Reports provided by

Thursday, 6 June
Zidane out of France match against Uruguay
Saudi coach favours Germany over Cameroon
Wednesday, 5 June
Senegal captain Cisse ruled out of Denmark clash
Portugal coach says U.S. too physically strong
Tuesday, 4 June
Portugal coach expects tough game against U.S.
Zidane's condition improving every day
Monday, 3 June
Absent Anelka wishes France good luck
Young Argentine duo look forward to Owen reunion
Sunday, 2 June
Nigeria coach pleased with performance despite loss
Confident Ireland aim to prick Germany's bubble

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