Domenech's warning |
France coach Raymond Domenech has warned his team against focusing too much on their European qualifier against Italy next month.
The long time rivalry between the two footballing giants turned to fever pitch last year when Italy won the World Cup final on penalties after France star Zinedine Zidane was sent off for head butting defender Marco Materazzi.
But for Domenech the September 8 qualifier between the two nations in Milan "doesn't count" and should not be seen as another chance to avenge their World Cup loss.
Instead he told his side to focus more on their friendly against Slovakia on August 22 as they prepare for ties against Scotland, the Faroe Islands and Lithuania.
"I'll tell the players 'prepare for these matches. If you prepare for Italy-France we're dead'. If we get a result in Italy everyone will think we're qualified. But no it's not true," Domenech told Thursday's edition of le Parisien newspaper.
And in in a swipe at Materazzi, he said: "Well I for one wouldn't mind being Materazzi. In the World Cup final, you score a goal, you have your rivals best player sent off and you score in the penalty shoot out. You can say what you want about (Andrea) Pirlo; Materazzi, is the man of the match."