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Friendlies

  • 27 May 2014
  • • 20:00
  • • Stade de France, Paris
  • Referee: P. Sutton
  • • Attendance: 70000
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France - Norway Preview: Deschamps begins World Cup preparations against Hogmo's young charges

France - Norway Preview: Deschamps begins World Cup preparations against Hogmo's young charges

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Les Bleus will be eager to steel themselves for June's tournament opener against a side out to build momentum ahead of their first Euro 2016 qualifiers in September

A positive start to France's World Cup preparations against Norway could help banish bad off-field memories of recent tournaments.

Didier Deschamps's men play the first of three pre-World Cup friendlies against their Scandinavian opponents at the Stade de France on Tuesday, knowing that they must avoid the pitfalls that led to dressing room debacles in 2010 and 2012.

The former France international took over after his nation were dumped out of the European Championship by Spain, with that disappointing campaign following the nightmare World Cup 2010.

Their exit in South Africa was one of the more shameful chapters in recent French football history as the team effectively went on strike following Nicolas Anelka's expulsion and dressing-room unrest resurfaced in Poland and Ukraine two years later.

The likes of Samir Nasri, Jeremy Menez and Yann M'Vila were all embroiled in controversies but Deschamps will hope to restore some pride in the national side at his first major tournament as boss.

Following their dramatic play-off victory over Ukraine in November, the French picked up an impressive win over Netherlands and they look in good shape going into their remaining friendlies before Brazil.

Nasri, who was handed a three-match suspension by the French Football Federation for a tirade at journalists during Euro 2012, has been left at home but Deschamps can still call on players such as Karim Benzema - a scorer in four of France's last five games.

With the national side looking in a much more positive frame of mind than in previous years, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris wants them to stay on course ahead of their Group E opener against Honduras on June 15.

"I think we have to continue with our dynamic," he told the press recently. "Let's stay on this track. We showed a good image against the Netherlands."

For Norway, it is a case of preparing for their Euro 2016 qualifiers, which begin with September's visit of Italy.

Per-Mathias Hogmo took over from Egil Olsen midway through their World Cup qualification campaign and recent friendlies have indicated moments of promise - notably a win over Moldova and a draw with the Czech Republic.

The former Tromso and Djurgardens coach is also optimistic in terms of the young players he has at his disposal, particularly Molde's uncapped defender, Per Egil Flo, who could feature in Paris.

"Per Egil had a good season last year and has taken a new step this year," he told the Norwegian Football Association's official website. "He fits very well in with the way we think about playing football. He is good offensively ... and has a strong character.

"We also have several very good players in the Under-21s national team. Mohamed Elyounoussi is exciting, Valon Berisha has done well, Markus Henriksen began to play again, the same with Joshua King."

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Norway

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