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Ribeirao Preto Press Conference 2: World Cup Preparation

With the World Cup now in full swing, the latest press conference from France’s training camp in Brazil was tinged with a sense of eager anticipation for the start of Les Bleu’s own campaign.

As the squad gear up for their opening clash against Honduras on Sunday night, Loic Remy, Stephane Ruffier and Blaise Matuidi all took some time out to discuss the positive feeling within the camp, the excitement of being at the World Cup and the challenges posed by their upcoming opposition.


Loic Remy:

On his World Cup hopes: ‘I set out my aims during the preparations, that’s how it always goes. I know why I’m here.’

‘We’re in the competition proper now, everything up to this point was just preparation.’

‘This World Cup is going to be a great moment in my career, I’m really going to make the most of my playing time.’

‘I think that I’ll get some playing time, but it depends on quite a few factors.’

‘I really can’t wait to see what a World Cup match has to offer. We’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves all the same.’

On Benzema: ‘Karim is doing very well and feeling sharp for the competition. I grew up with him and watched him develop, he’s very strong mentally.’

On Honduras: ‘Honduras are going to get into us. Physically we need to be ready for the fight.’

‘We know that the first match is going to be vital. It’s not do-or-die but a victory would make us all a little more relaxed.’

‘I know [Maynor] Figueroa but not many of the others. They’re all tough, physical players.’

On Debuchy: ‘Debuchy is a really nice guy but he gives his all on the pitch. He can offer a lot to this France side.’

On Deschamps: ‘Deschamps sets the rules and we have to follow them or we’ll be left out. Above all else, it’s about the group.’

On the tournament’s referees: ‘The referees came to see us to say that errors are part of human nature.’

‘It’s always infuriating to lose because of a refereeing mistake.’

On Brazil’s controversial penalty against Croatia: ‘Fred knows what he is doing, he fell at the right moment. If you don’t get caught then it works out well for the team.’

On the feeling within the France squad: ‘There are no qualms within the France squad. The 23 of us are focused and together.’

‘Our results can make the bond even stronger.’

On his strengths: ‘I’m not the most technically-gifted around, I think it’s fair to say that I’m a player who likes to have space to play in.’

On Evra: ‘Patrice has perhaps the most important role in the group. He has an impact on the entire camp and is like a big brother.’

‘He is really great for the group.’

On his club future: ‘I haven’t really spoken to anyone, my agent deals with that.’

On the side’s young centre-back pairing: ‘Sakho and Varane are young but Raphael has won the Champions League and Mamadou is playing at Liverpool.’


Stephane Ruffier:

On being at the World Cup: ‘It’s my first official World Cup, it’s a pleasure to represent your country.’

‘We haven’t been able to see much of Brazil, we just pass the time however we can – whether it’s playing cards or on the Playstation.’

‘Personally I keep up to date with the news and what’s happening in France and stay in my hotel room.’

‘It would’ve been really nice to have the sea in this town too but the most important thing is that we have a great base camp. We all feel very settled here.’

On the Brazil-Croatia match: ‘I didn’t see the match, we were training.’

On the World Cup ball: ‘The Adidas ball has been discussed at length as you’d expect. They’re unpredictable for goalkeepers, they’re a bit of a pain.’

‘The ball moves quickly and swerves a lot.’

On his personality and his preparations: ‘Yes, I’m quiet and reserved off the pitch but it’s different on it. I have to make myself heard.’

‘I’m preparing as if I’m the number one keeper, you have to be ready to step up at a moment’s notice.’

‘Being the number two is a thankless task but you have to prepare as if you’re a starter.’

‘Becoming number one isn’t on my mind. Hugo [Lloris] is one of the best goalkeepers in Europe.’

On the relationship between the goalkeepers: ‘It’s been going very well with Hugo and Mickael [Landreau], we’re all in it together and we all have to make sure Hugo is in the best condition possible.’

On Honduras: ‘I have plenty of respect for the Honduras side but I don’t know the players.’

On Benzema: ‘Karim is a world class striker, he’s extremely mobile, uses space well and knows how to link up with other players.’

On his roots: ‘I’m still very attached to my Basque Country roots, I’ve retained those characteristics.’


Blaise Matuidi:

On the side’s midfield: ‘Together with Yohan [Cabaye] and Paul [Pogba] we’ve produced some great football. We want to start as well as possible.’

‘I haven’t changed the way I play. I’m allowed to go and help my team-mates score but the balance is always important.’

On the side’s striking options: ‘I’m not the coach. Giroud or Benzema – you’ll have to ask the man in charge.’

On Honduras: ‘We’re not particularly worried about any specific players. They’re a team that can be tough to deal with though. Above all, we need to focus on our strengths against Honduras.’

‘We can make it difficult for them. In terms of the physical challenge, that’s what the referee is there for.’

On being at the World Cup: ‘We’re looking ahead now and soon we’re all going to find out what a World Cup demands of you.’

‘The World Cup is the pinnacle, the must-have, and that puts a positive kind of pressure on you.’

On the feeling within the group: ‘We’re feeling ready but staying grounded. We know our place and there’s no getting carried away.’

‘We have our feet on the ground and we’ve just seen what Croatia were able to do against Brazil.’

‘The 23 players all have a role in the team. We all have to raise our game.’

‘We’re all feeling good, there are no worries in the group.’

‘We’re going to do everything we can and I believe we’ll be unmatched in our level of team spirit.’

‘Since playing Ukraine we’ve really come to understand what is at stake, we’re going to give our all.’

On the controversial Brazil penalty: ‘It’s a decision that you have to learn to take.’

On Thiago Silva: ‘He’s a friend of mine. He’s very endearing and is a leader in the dressing room.’

‘Thiago Silva has been lucky enough to see his wife but for the rest of us not seeing our family remains a bit of a problem.’

On Benzema: ‘Everyone has noticed how popular he is here and that’s normal. He’s the team’s goalscorer and he’s just won the Champions League.’

On the development of his own game: ‘I play alongside some great players at PSG and that’s forced me to raise the level of my game technically.’

‘I feel that I’ve developed my game well.’

On their custom TV channel in the hotel: ‘We have a channel that shows all of our opponents’ matches on repeat, it’s great.’

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