Evra boosted by strong team spirit

19 June 2014 03:46

Patrice Evra is confident team unity will see France build on their impressive start to the World Cup campaign.

An opening 3-0 win over Honduras, with two goals from Karim Benzema, put Didier Deschamps' side in pole position to qualify from Group E.

That early encouragement is in marked contrast to the last World Cup in 2010, which ended acrimoniously with captain Evra leading a players' strike in response to striker Nicolas Anelka being sent home from the squad.

Manchester United full-back Evra admits that campaign in South Africa "destroyed" him but he is far more upbeat this time around.

"You need everyone in the World Cup, you cannot give up because you're not starting a game," he said at a press conference ahead of the second group game against Switzerland in Salvador.

"We do not have a problem with egos in this team. I have faith in this squad, and that's a great strength.

"The star isn't one player, it's the team."

And that extends to the whole squad, with the skipper admitting even he is not certain of his starting place with Paris St Germain's Lucas Digne waiting in the wings should his form slip.

"Nothing's ever certain with Deschamps," Evra said. "That's why I like to work with him. He never gives you presents.

"He'll look you in the eyes and say, 'Pat, if you mess up I won't spare you'. I know that if I step out of line I'm out of this team."

Opponents Switzerland had to work much harder for their opening win and required Haris Seferovic's 93rd-minute goal to overcome Ecuador 2-1.

With the combative but limited Hondurans to come, a ssistant coach Michel Pont is in no doubt Les Bleus present the toughest test of his side's group campaign.

"It is extremely difficult to find weak points in the France team," he told the Tribune de Geneve. " They are very well-organised, compact and work hard for each other.

"We have to create weak points and jump on every opportunity. Putting 10 men back and waiting to see what happens is not the answer, we have to challenge them in the game."

France midfielder Yohan Cabaye sat out part of his side's training session but is not expected to miss the game.

Admir Mehmedi, scorer of Switzerland's first goal against Ecuador moments after coming on as a half-time substitute, could well have earned himself an elevation into the starting XI with Valentin Stocker, the man he replaced in Brasilia, seemingly the most vulnerable.

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 08:44