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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May, 13, 2006

Domenech to name first choice France keeper

PARIS, May 13 (Reuters) - France coach Raymond Domenech, who will name his first choice goalkeeper for the World Cup finals when he unveils his 23-man squad on Sunday, has Gregory Coupet battling with Fabien Barthez to be the number one.

'Raymond Domenech and (goalkeeping coach) Bruno Martini came to see me. The coach told me he would announce his decision on Sunday,' sports daily L'Equipe quoted Olympique Lyon goalkeeper Coupet as saying.

'I've prepared myself to be the number one. If I'm not, I do not know how I will react,' he added.

Coupet, who led Lyon to a record fifth consecutive Ligue 1 title and the Champions League quarter-finals, has been fighting all season for the spot with Olympique Marseille's Barthez.

The 34-year-old Barthez, like Coupet, has had an average season with the Provence side but his experience is a big asset.

He was instrumental in France's 1998 World Cup victory on home soil and a key player in Les Bleus' Euro 2000 success.

France kick off their World Cup challenge in Germany on June 13 against Switzerland in Stuttgart before facing South Korea and Togo in Group G.

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