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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May, 24, 2006

France squad bond on three-hour Alpine hike

TIGNES, France, May 24 (Reuters) - A three-hour hike up an Alpine glacier was on Wednesday's agenda for France's 23-man World Cup squad.

The players, on a training camp in the French Alps resort of Tignes, left their four-star hotel on Tuesday for a mountain refuge where they spent the night.

On Wednesday morning, they roped up for a gruelling hike on icy terrain before being joined by their families for lunch.

The idea of such activities is to help the players know each other better before the finals in Germany start on June 9.

"Those who will play must be able to cope with the pressure and those who will be on the bench must swallow their pride and support the others," said coach Raymond Domenech, who has banned fans and media from getting near the team.

"Everybody must be ready to play their role."

After their hike a short training session was planned before some balneotherapy, which is a water treatment.

The players were to leave the Alps on Friday, a day before facing Mexico in a friendly at Stade de France.

The former world and European champions start their World Cup campaign against Switzerland on June 13 in Stuttgart. Their other opponents in Group G are Togo and South Korea.

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