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France's defense could be a weak link at World Cup
France's inexperienced central defense could be a World Cup weak link in attacking side
Associated Press
2014-06-23 03:01 AM

RIBEIRAO PRETO, Brazil (AP) -- While France's free-flowing attack is working well at the World Cup, doubts remain over the true quality of its defense.

The center half pairing of Mamadou Sakho and Rapahel Varane is largely untested since they have been playing together for a little more than one year.

When Sakho limped off with a sore thigh against Switzerland last Friday, France looked unsettled and conceded two quick goals in a 5-2 win in Group E.

France won the 1998 World Cup and the European Championship in 2000 with a defense featuring Lilian Thuram, Marcel Desailly, Laurent Blanc and Bixente Lizarazu -- widely considered the best in the world.

They had played together for years, whereas the current defense cruelly lacks such experience, with the exception of veteran left back Patrice Evra.

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