Football

Tardelli play-off warning for France

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Marco Tardelli has warned France the Republic of Ireland firmly believe they can beat them to snatch a place in next summer's World Cup finals.

Raymond Domenech's star-studded team will be hot favourites to erase the disappointment of missing out on automatic qualification and securing their passage via the play-offs. However, Giovanni Trapattoni's number two Tardelli is adamant they should take nothing for granted against the unbeaten Irish.

He said: "The team believes it is possible to win - anything is possible in football. Now we are a good team and we believe we can qualify."

The French will arrive in Dublin on Friday for Saturday's clash with coach Domenech under intense pressure and amid suggestions of disunity within the camp.

However, the Republic, despite being less than impressed with some of the comments coming from their opponents, are expecting nothing but the toughest of tests.

Tardelli said: "The French team is very good in midfield, the defence and the strikers, there are no problems.

"They are a very good team and we will need much passion, much character because we need to play a very big match to beat France.

"For us, it's very important to begin with big pressure because it's our weapon.

"It's very important for us because we can't give the French players space on the pitch, because they are very strong.

"You know the names - they play with Real Madrid, with Barcelona, with Chelsea. They are very good players."

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