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Domenech believes that les Bleus’ defensive problems should be treated as an opportunity rather than as a curse ahead of Wednesday’s encounter against la Furia Roja, a match the coach will be treating with the utmost concentration...

France coach Raymond Domenech has underlined his belief that les Bleus’ quest to regain the World Cup, which they won in 1998, begins with Wednesday evening’s encounter against Spain.

Though les Bleus struggled through the qualification phase, they are being touted as one of the favourites to claim the crown, and Domenech has stated that their campaign begins at the Stade de France this week.

“I would almost say we're already in a World Cup match,” he told the media. “It has been launched.

“Spain are one of the favourites, so that puts us in the reality of this World Cup. The risk of playing good teams is losing, but I do prefer this type of game. It locates us; we'll see what we can do against one of the big World Cup hopes.”

Les Bleus approach this game with a whole string of top names excluded from the squad due to injury problems. The defence has been particularly hard hit, with neither William Gallas nor Sebastien Squillaci available, but Domenech sees this as an opportunity as opposed to a hardship.

“Since the European Championships, we’ve not had the same central hinge more than twice because of suspensions and injuries. Once again we will change. Sometimes a place is won like that.”

The hosts enjoy a good record against Spain, though the European champions will start as favourites come kick-off.

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