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A fresh start: Giroud

Sao Paulo: France’s campaign in the 2010 World Cup was a forgettable one, where they disappointed their fans both on and off the pitch.

Such has been their performance, they were forced to reconstruct their squad in order to restore their greatness. For France, Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny have developed into key players.

Giroud believes that France’s mission at the 2014 World Cup will be to erase the memory of their disappointing displays at South Africa.

“It’s a fresh start. We’ve gone through a rebuilding phase because people still associate the team with Knysna (in South Africa) and the way in which we exited the tournament last time,” Giroud said.

“The French public hasn’t forgotten what happened, and we’re going to show them that we can keep our flag flying high during the World Cup.”

Indeed, Didier Deschamps’ charges have made it clear that their initial objective in South America will be to undo the damage done to the country’s reputation in 2010. “We don’t talk about the actual details of what happened last time,” stated the former Montpellier striker.

“The majority of players weren’t in the squad, and we’d rather look to the future rather than the past. What we’ve achieved over the past few months has been extremely encouraging. There’s been a groundswell of support for our team, which has obviously stemmed from our run of good results and our qualification versus Ukraine,” he continued.

Koscielny, who played alongside Giroud at Ligue 2 side Tours in season 2008/09, did not take part in the return match of the play-off against the Ukrainians. Sent off during France’s 0-2 first-leg defeat in Kiev, the talented defender watched from the stands as his teammates dug deep to triumph 3-0 and book a berth at Brazil 2014.

“The team has been in good shape over the past few matches, both on and off the pitch. We need to keep playing in the same way and maintain the same mindset and mood, playing for each other. To get far in the tournament, we need to work together.”

Unfortunately, that quest will need to continue without two notable performers, Clement Grenier and Franck Ribery having withdrawn from the squad through injury. “Franck has had back problems for weeks, and hadn’t trained very much with us. It wasn’t a huge surprise,” explained Giroud, refusing to blow things out of proportion.

“We have to leave all that to one side; it’s already been difficult enough for him. It’s unfortunate that he won’t be with us, but we’ll do our best to ensure that he’s proud of our performances,” he added. (Agencies)