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Chelsea's Anelka wants a united France against Ireland

Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka has urged for the France national team to unite ahead of Wednesday's ultimate World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland. Les Blues have a slender 1-0 lead after an Anelka goal in Dublin on Saturday but the squad has had a string of disagreements recently, culminating in star striker Thierry Henry clashing with coach Raymond Domenech over the omission of Patrick Vieira from the squad.

But Anelka hopes the players can put that behind them, move on and produce a strong, united performance in Paris.

"We need to stay together, be strong and united to get the result because it will still be a very difficult game," Anelka said.

"It has been a difficult campaign but we are all pulling together, working hard to qualify and reach the World Cup finals.

"We will play to win on Wednesday because that's the only way we can play freely, and we also want to give the fans something good at Stade de France.

"Of course it's good to score away from home, it's a play-off so it's very important.

"The win in Ireland was satisfying because we wanted to show that we could get a good result. But we shouldn't get carried away, anything can happen."

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Andrew Slevison
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