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Man City full-back Sagna remembers doubts over Jacquet’s France team of 1998

Bacary Sagna recalls the negativity towards the French national team prior to the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

As Les Bleus deal with another row just days out from Euro2016, the Manchester City full-back insists the squad is together and united leading into Friday night's opener against Romania in Saint-Denis, Paris.

In the wake of Karim Benzema's omission from the squad by Didier Deschamps for an alleged sex-tape blackmail scandal involving Mathieu Valbuena, many have waded into the debate including Eric Cantona, Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Noel Le Graet, president of the French Football Federation.

Cantona even suggested Deschamps had left Benzema, Hatem Ben Arfa and Samir Nasri out of the squad because of their North African heritage.

However, Sagna does not believe this unrest will affect the playing group in a similar fashion to Aime Jacquet's side of '98 that went on to win the World Cup on home soil.

"I remember a lot of the criticism of the French team. I remember that everybody had doubts about the team. That everyone was against the team and against the coach," said Sagna.

"The team was very strong though and they started the World Cup very well. I think we have to be inspired by what they did and the way they surprised everyone by winning the tournament.

"I know a lot of people want to see something from this team. There's a lot of questions. We have been working had to be here today and to be ready. I think the team is ready but we won't know that until Friday.

"We did well in 2014 and we feel like reliving this thing we lived in 1998. We will see on Friday. There are a lot of people expecting a lot from us, especially when we play in the finals. We have a good team."

Andrew Slevison
About the author

Andrew Slevison

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