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Ready to combat Honduras: Didier

Didier Deschamps

Porto Alegre: France are bracing themselves for combat against a rugged Honduras side in their World Cup Group E opener on Sunday, coach Didier Deschamps said on Wednesday.

Deschamps heard English complaints about Honduras’s tackling during their 0-0 friendly draw in Miami on Saturday, which he watched on television.

“They have aptitudes for going into combat, we’re expecting that,” Deschamps told a news conference at France’s base in Ribeirao Preto, the day after their arrival in Brazil.

“It’s one of the characteristics of this team. I saw their last match against England,” added France’s 1998 World Cup-winning captain.

“I also had the opportunity to talk with (Jamaica coach) Winfried Schaefer since they were in their (Concacaf) qualifying group,” he said, referring to Sunday’s warm-up in Lille when France crushed the Jamaicans 8-0.

Although England players complained about the perceived leniency of the referee in the Miami friendly, Deschamps believes World Cup match officials will deal with any infringements properly.

“This is the World Cup. Given the letter Fifa sent to all the teams (taking part) concerning the referees, I’m not worried about that,” he said.

“If anyone steps over the line, he will be sanctioned. It goes for them as it does for us.”

Deschamps preferred to dwell on Honduran virtues in a tough group that also includes Ecuador and Switzerland. “They’re very well organised. They play systematically in the same formation, 4-4-2, with two lines of four that defend well and two athletic forwards up front,” he said. (Reuters)