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Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Blanc proud at France unveiling

Soccernet staff

New France boss Laurent Blanc has expressed his pride at being selected to lead his country when he was officially unveiled by the French Football Federation on Tuesday.

Blanc, who was a key part of the France team which triumphed in both the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, insisted that even Les Bleus dismal World Cup campaign under Raymond Domenech in South Africa this summer did not deter him from continuing his link with the national team.

"I am very proud to be here as coach of the France team," he said. "For me, the France team is above everything, it was a thread throughout my career. As a player I experienced difficult times but also some great moments.

"My commitment to the France team is absolute. I had other challenges available to me, but this one with the French team most attracted me. The recent difficult events never called that into question.

"The France team does not belong to anybody. It is for everyone, for you (the media) the same as for me. I understand what the France team represents, the rights and the requirements linked to this jersey."

Blanc, who left Bordeaux to head up the national team, has signed a two-year contract to guide France through the qualification campaign for Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

Former national team midfielder Alain Boghossian will remain as assistant coach, the role he occupied under Domenech, and is joined by Jean-Louis Gasset.

Blanc has pledged a clean slate for the players who orchestrated a training walkout ahead of this summer's final group game against the host nation following the dismissal of Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka from the squad.

Blanc said: "The thing which shocked me the most was the group's behaviour in training 48 hours ahead of the third match against South Africa."

But he added: "Those responsible for this badly thought-out decision are numerous. It is not for me to decide on sanctions. I am not the bogeyman.

"I will be judged on results, and in order to achieve the best results I must have the best team. If I consider they are the best players in their position, I will take them.

"I will speak with them about what happened but in the FFF's rules, there are no disciplinary sanctions set out. I will make my decisions based on sporting considerations."

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