France Bruno Bini spelled out his ambition to go all the way at UEFA Women's EURO 2013 as he placed opening Group C rivals Russia firmly in his sights.
Les Bleues lost their final warm-up game 2-0 to Australia at the weekend – a defeat that brough their 11-game unbeaten run ground to a halt – but Bini is adamant that his charges are ready to launch a successful bid for glory. Russia coach Sergei Lavrentyev has set more realistic targets, in contrast, though he is hopeful of springing an upset against a side he believes "have some weak points".
Bruno Bini, France coach
Our preparations were deliberately planned and it's normal that in some of the games the girls found it hard. That was part of the plan. Anyone who saw our training session yesterday would have seen there was a lot of energy. We're relaxed.
I don't like to talk about the opposition because whatever you say, it can be interpreted in a way that gives them motivation. We've done our job as usual. We looked at their last five or six matches; our observers watched their last friendly in Norway.
Any coach who comes here and says he's not here to win is a liar. We're all here to win, including me. We're not liars. We'll do what we can to go all the way. We know the road ahead and we've given ourselves the resources to get there.
We're in perpetual movement and progressing. A lot of that's due to the federation and the clubs, while professionalisation means the girls train more and are in better shape. The clubs are the France team, just like the France team is the clubs.
The further we go, the better image we'll give of our sport and more girls will play – but that's not our problem. Our problem is to win matches. The girls don't need that pressure; they have to be selfish and think of themselves, their careers and medal collections. It's the only thing I've asked them to be selfish about.
P8 W8 D0 L0 F32 A2
13 February: D3-3 v Germany (h, Strasbourg)
6 March: D2-2 v Brazil (h, Nancy)
9 March: D1-1 v Brazil (h, Rouen)
4 April: D1-1 v Canada (h, Nice)
1 June: W3-0 v Finland (h, Valenciennes)
29 June: W1-0 v Norway (h, Reims)
6 July: L0-2 Australia (h, Angers)
Amandine Henry is missing with a thigh injury and is not expected back until the England game on 18 July, but there is better news regarding Louisa Necib. A doubt with a hip complaint, the Olympique Lyonnais midfielder "trained normally this afternoon" according to Bini.
Sergei Lavrentyev, Russia coach
We are waiting for the start of EURO 2013 and the team is in good shape. We're hoping for better results [than in past UEFA European Women's Championships], but this is football and everything will be decided on the pitch. This is a very big occasion for all of us and we're very happy to be here.
France are one of the strongest teams in Europe, but they also have some weak points and we will try to exploit those tomorrow. We have to stick to our plan and be disciplined in achieving our goals. We have belief in ourselves and our capabilities.
I agree with Bruno Bini, who is a very respected coach in women's football, that every coach dreams of getting to the highest peak. But it is a very big achievement for us even to be here among 12 strongest teams in Europe and we do not stop here. This is a stage in the development of women's football in Russia. It will be a great experience for everybody.
We haven't had much time for sightseeing yet, but we came here to play football first and foremost. All the teams are strong here. It's a cliché, but I have to say that there are no weak teams here. We watched both games yesterday and saw some great football from all four sides. Every team here can spring an upset.
P10 W7 D1 L2 F31 A6
v Austria: (a) W2-0, (h) D1-1, agg W3-1
16 January: L1-2 v Spain (a, Murcia)
14 February: L0-5 v Finland (a, Eerikkila)
7 March: W1-0 v Bosnia and Herzegovina (Croatia Cup group, Rovinj)
9 March: W1-0 v Slovakia (Croatia Cup group, Rovinj)
11 March: D0-0 (W4-2p) v Czech Republic (Croatia Cup final, Rovinj)
8 April: L1-5 v Denmark (a, Horsens)
22 June: W1-0 v Ukraine (h, Moscow)
5 July: W3-2 v Norway (a, Moss)
Russia enjoy a full complement of players as their tournament gets under way.
These teams met on 11 July 2012 in Beauvais, France winning a pre-Olympic friendly 3-0 with Gaëtane Thiney's opener followed by two by Marie-Laure Delie, all in the first half.
Did you know?
If Sandrine Soubeyrand plays, she will become the oldest ever person to take part in a UEFA Women's EURO finals aged 39 years 330 days (21 days more than Olena Mazurenko for Ukraine v Finland in 2009).
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