Vieira, Cisse given France hope
Raymond Domenech has told Patrick Vieira and Djibril Cisse they can still make his World Cup squad.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 26/02/10 1:19pm
France coach Raymond Domenech has told Patrick Vieira and Djibril Cisse they still have a chance of making his World Cup squad.
Vieira, 33, was not named in the squad for next week's friendly against Spain in Paris while Domenech preferred to recall Louis Saha rather than Cisse.
A member of Les Bleus' 1998 World Cup-winning side, Vieira moved from Inter Milan to Manchester City in January on a short-term deal in a bid to gain regular first-team football.
And although his City debut was delayed by a calf problem, the France chief has told Vieira he still has time to impress before he must name his provisional World Cup squad in May.
"He has played two whole games," said Domenech. "We talked about it and agreed that this was not enough.
"It would do no good to throw him in against Spain. It's two months before the World Cup (squad announcement). He still has time.
"It is up to him to play several games in a row to show he is back to his best level."
Strike pair Saha and Cisse have been back to their best this season, with Saha scoring 15 goals for Everton while Cisse has hit 23 for Panathinaikos.
And although Domenech opted to give Saha, 31, his first call-up since November 2006, he admitted Cisse was back in his plans.
"We looked at him, but there are positions where there are more people than others," he said.
"He was competing with Louis Saha, who is also performing at the moment, so I had to make a choice.
"Cisse has the potential but it's a competition problem - I can't take 14 centre-forwards."
Cisse, 28, responded to his omission from the squad to face Spain by scoring twice on Thursday night as Greek side Panathinaikos upset Roma to seal their place in the last 16 of the Europa League.
"The goals I scored is my answer," said Cisse after the game.
"Again I wasn't called up to the French national team, but what I have to do is to continue to score goals and win with my team. That's my job.
"I was very disappointed before the match but I got over it through the success of the team and by scoring two goals.
"Knowing the national coach still thinks about me has increased my determination," he added in L'Equipe. "You will see that on the pitch."
Injuries to Real Madrid star Karim Benzema and Toulouse striker Andre-Pierre Gignac had opened the door for Saha, whose progress has been hindered by a series of niggling injuries, but the former Manchester United man admits he is not counting on a World Cup call-up just yet.
"It hasn't sunk in yet," he told L'Equipe. "It's been such a long time.
"However, there were several absences in attack.
"Of course, it is very nice to be back in the squad and I am really happy - now I have to stay in.
"Before thinking about the national team, above all I thought about playing again because I missed it so much.
"But I have become more cautious. I have endured so many challenges to not get overjoyed as in the past."