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By ESPN Staff

France coach plays down World Cup pressure

CLAIREFONTAINE, France, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Coach Raymond Domenech dismissed suggestions France's poor Euro 2008 display had piled the pressure on him ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.

'Every time I go back on to the field I tell myself it could be my last match,' he told reporters on Tuesday as his team prepared to meet Austria in their first qualifier on Saturday followed by a home game with Serbia on Sept. 10.

Domenech stayed at the helm despite being widely criticised after the first-round exit at Euro 2008.

He compared his situation to four years ago when France struggled at first to cope with the retirement of playmaker Zinedine Zidane.

'In 2004 the context was pretty much the same,' said Domenech. 'I don't think there was any less pressure four years ago than now. I don't see any difference.'

The coach has been urged to inject more dynamism into the team, on the field and in their relations with the public, but he said he would not change his approach.

'Naturally I'm not going to become someone different. I am what I am, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's like a match,' he said.

'The main thing is to get results with the team. As far as the rest of it goes it's the same story. The players have to be in the right condition. That's what's most important, all the rest is just packaging.

'The aim is to qualify and please the public,' added Domenech. 'I've been saying it for four years.'


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