France centre-back William Gallas expects Les Bleus to negotiate a "tough game" in the Faroe Islands and go on to qualify for UEFA EURO 2008™. "Yes, we will do it. We will be at the finals," he said.
France have not lost a match in regular time with Gallas in the team since their UEFA EURO 2004™ quarter-final defeat by Greece, so the presence of the 56-cap defender on a football pitch for the first time since he played for Arsenal FC on 19 August will be a major fillip for Raymond Domenech's side. "I am really looking forward to playing again," said Gallas, who has been struggling with a groin strain. "I am training and doing everything with the team but lack a bit of match fitness."
The 30-year-old had been called up for September's qualifiers, but sat out the draw in Italy and the home loss to Scotland. "This time, if the coach asks, I'll be ready," said Gallas, whose team now lie third in Group B, two points behind the Scots and one point adrift of the Azzurri. Domenech has the option of using Gallas alongside Lilian Thuram in central defence in Torshavn, a partnership which proved pivotal in helping France reach the 2006 FIFA World Cup final.
Wind and rain
France will also face Lithuania in Nantes next Wednesday before they travel to Ukraine in November. Should they win all three fixtures, they will qualify for Austria and Switzerland next year. First, though, that trip to the Tórsvøllur Stadium. "Wind, rain, a small stadium, lots of pressure ... It will be a tough game in the Faroes," said Gallas. "We need to score in the first ten minutes, then it will be a completely different game. They'll have ten men behind the ball and we'll have to find space to play. But we'll do it." Quite simply, they have to.
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