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French fitness worries increase with doubts over Henry and Vieira at Euro 2008

French fitness worries increase with doubts over Henry and Vieira at Euro 2008

The sight of record scorer Thierry Henry sitting on the bench throughout France's 0-0 draw against Romania on Monday will only add to coach Raymond Domenech's injury problems at the European Championship.
Already missing captain Patrick Vieira as he recovers from a small thigh tear, Domenech now has to hope Henry is also fit in time to face the Netherlands in Friday's Group C match.
"(Henry) had a little problem, he was a bit short to play today," Domenech said. "I think he will be operational starting from tomorrow (Tuesday). Patrick is getting better, he will prepare calmly with the rest of the group for what I hope will be a few more weeks."
Henry said he has a slight "thigh strain" but is not overly concerned, without specifying which leg is hurting.
"I still felt a bit of pain in yesterday's training," Henry said. "I hope to be there against Netherlands. I am not a doctor, we will see how it goes."
With defender Willy Sagnol looking short of match fitness against the Romanians, France could have trouble containing the quick Dutch forwards.
"I am not worried or sad," Domenech said. "All I am interested in is preparing (for) the Netherlands match."
It is the first time the 30-year-old Henry suited up for France but didn't start the match since a home friendly against Slovakia on March 1, 2006.
Both Henry and Vieira have played in France's last five major competitions.
Domenech does not comment specifically on medical matters, but Henry has not trained properly since leaving midway through Thursday's practice session. Domenech only said that Henry had picked up a knock against Colombia.
Domenech's decision to play a friendly against the tough-tackling Colombians on the eve of France's departure to Switzerland must be called into question. In that match, winger Franck Ribery had to have an ice-pack strapped to his right ankle after some heavy challenges.
On the eve of the 2006 World Cup, France lost Djibril Cisse to a broken leg in a friendly against China.
Henry, France's record scorer with 44 goals, started all seven of his country's games in that competition. He made his 100th international appearance in Tuesday's friendly against Colombia at Stade de France, which finished in a 0-0 draw.
Troubled by sore hamstrings and a sciatic nerve for the past two seasons, Henry has been a shadow of his glory days with Arsenal, when he regularly scored close to 30 goals a season. He managed only 17 in all competitions this season for FC Barcelona, although he was played out of position at times on the left wing.
Nicolas Anelka took Henry's place in attack with 20-year-old striker Karim Benzema, who scored 31 goals in his first full season at Lyon.
It was Anelka's first start in an international at a major tournament since the Euro 2000 semifinals against Portugal, where he set up Henry's goal. Benzema was playing his first match in a major competition.
Neither looked impressive and the French were shut down relatively easily.


Updated : 2021-04-17 14:31 GMT+08:00