Lizarazu backs France to win FIFA 2018 World Cup

Former World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu feels France has a strong chance to lift the 2018 FIFA World Cup trophy.

Bayern Munich's Bixente Lizarazu poses with UEFA Champions League trophy in 2001.   -  Special Arrangement

Former World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu, who is in Delhi to promoted the FC Bayern Youth Cup 2017-18, has backed France to win the forthcoming FIFA World Cup.

“France has the potential to win the FIFA World Cup 2018, and if not then reach the top four for sure. I expect beautiful football to be played in the coming World Cup. Fans are really looking forward to a phenomenal football extravaganza with so many excellent footballers ready to show their best game,” said the French footballer and Bayern Munich Hall of Famer.

A member of the World Cup winning squad in 1998, Lizarazu, who has won the Bundesliga, DFB cups, the Intercontinental Cup and the Champions League in 2001, praised the work of  former captain Didier Deschamps with the national team.

“He is a very good trainer and is doing a great job with the team, with qualifying for the quarterfinals in Brazil and reaching the Euro 2016 finals. We look forward to him taking the team to the finals this year and maybe winning the title.”

Lizarazu, who rates Marcelo from Real Madrid as his favourite left-back among present footballers, was confident of Bayern’s chances in this season's Champions League. “FC Bayern has full potential to win the Champions League this season, like every season. However, there are other top teams – Barcelona, PSG, Real Madrid, and Manchester City in the fray.”

On French football being able to make the best use of his generation's success in international football, Lizarazu, a reputed left-back, observed, “They have the best young team in the World which includes great players like (Paul) Pogba and Ousmane Dembele. Having said that, it is important for them to stay focussed, learn and inculcate qualities of their former players to improve themselves and constantly develop new skills.”

Lizarazu praised FC Bayern and Adidas’ initiative for the FC Bayern Youth Cup to promote grassroot football in India. “I think it is a great initiative and good concept. FC Bayern has been organising the Youth Cup in many countries like India, China, Thailand and Singapore, among others. It is a very good opportunity for young talent to showcase their skills and also win an opportunity to play the World Finals at the Allianz Arena in Munich and get trained by the best. The tournament enables us to scout the top players from select countries.”

Speaking about football in India, the French star said, “I can imagine football to be the best and most popular sport in India, with such talent and passion for the game. Indians can improve the current scenario with the local leagues. I am sure they will have a great national team soon and qualify for the World Cup, and become tough opponents for others.”

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