Zidane tips Ribery & Benzema to star for France at World Cup

The Real Madrid legend thinks his country has turned a corner under Didier Deschamps and believes a European country can triumph in South America despite the climate
Zinedine Zidane feels the likes of Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery will star at the World Cup and is confident France are one of the teams capable of mounting a serious challenge in Brazil.

Didier Deschamps’ side almost failed to qualify for the competition but eventually prevailed in a dramatic two-legged play-off tie against Ukraine.

And Zidane believes France have turned a corner under Deschamps and will fare much better than in previous tournaments this summer.

“France should do well,” the current Real Madrid assistant coach told The Times of India.

“Last time in South Africa they disappointed everyone but this time under Didier Deschamps they are playing well.

“In the qualifiers they were second to Spain and did well in the play-off. Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery are in great form.

“I know Ribery's Bayern were ousted by Benzema's Real Madrid in the Champions League, but I am eager to see their combination play at the World Cup. It should be a great sight.”

France will be confident of progressing past the group stage after being drawn in a manageable looking pool against Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras.

Zidane, though, has warned his fellow countrymen not to become complacent in their early matches or they could find themselves on an early plane home.

He continued: “You are there because you are among the best 32 teams in the world.

“In Group E, there is one nation from Europe who are aware of our football style and the other two will be playing in their own continent. It is not at all an easy group.”

Many experts are backing Brazil and Argentina as favourites to win the tournament because it is being hosted in their home continent of South America, where no European side has previously won the trophy.

But Zidane has dismissed that view and believes France, along with the likes of Germany, Spain and Europe’s other top nations, are more than capable of triumphing this summer.

“I cannot say for sure, but I feel that a European nation can win the coveted cup in Latin America,” said the 41-year-old.

“Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and France can go all the way, with the Germans being the best prepared side.

“Brazil can expect an extravagant football bonanza from the European nations.”