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Mexico need to play tougher opponents

By ESPN Staff

World Cup winner Candela hangs up his boots

PARIS, Sept 3 (Reuters) - France 1998 World Cup winner Vincent Candela has ended his playing career after 18 years as a professional, French media reported on Monday.

'I'm not playing anywhere this season. My time is past,' the full back told French sports daily L'Equipe.

'It is time to call it quits. Football has changed. It's more physical, less tactical, less technical.'

The 33-year-old started his career at Toulouse and forced his way into the first team in 1992 before playing for Guingamp, Roma, Bolton Wanderers, Udinese, Sienna and Messina.

He earned the first of his 40 caps for France in Oct. 1996 in a 4-0 defeat of Turkey.

Candela, who scored two goals for France, spent a majority of his international career as a second choice behind Bixente Lizarazu, although he played one game of his team's victorious 1998 World Cup campaign, against Denmark.

He was also a member of France's Euro 2000 winning squad, playing twice in the finals, and ended his international career in a 1-1 draw at Tunisia in Aug 2002.

Candela's highest honour at club level was a Serie A title with Roma in 2001.