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Sep 12, 2008

Gourcuff delighted to be France's saviour

PARIS, September 12 (World Cup Qualifying) - Yoann Gourcuff was delighted he was able to ride to France's rescue in Wednesday's World Cup qualifying win over Serbia.

Gourcuff, making his starting debut for his country, was Les Bleus' star performer as they defeated the Serbs 2-1 to get their qualification campaign back on track following a disappointing loss to Austria four days earlier.

The 22-year-old, who played in the hole behind the strikers, is one of the main reasons why coach Raymond Domenech is still in a job.

And he admitted his superb display, which saw him set up Nicolas Anelka for the key second goal for France and also hit the bar with a rasping left-foot shot, could not have come in more trying circumstances.

"The simple fact of being selected from the start had already put massive personal pressure on me," said the attacking midfielder, who is on a season-long loan at Bordeaux from AC Milan.

"And seeing the context of the game, it is true that it wasn't easy. The days which preceded the match had been hard to deal with.

"All people were talking about was the France team. There was a lot of tension because of the criticism which accompanied our defeat in Austria.

"So this (Serbia) match was followed enormously. And with the crowd whistling us from the start, we had to show that we were giving 120% from the start.

"The crowd was expecting a reaction and we managed to lift our heads. It was a great evening because there was a victory at the end of it."

Gourcuff is already being seen as France's saviour ahead of their next qualifier, an away match against Romania in Constanta on October 11.

Owing to his strength on the ball and eye for a pass, he is not too dissimilar to Zinedine Zidane but he is not getting carried away.

"I hope to be called up again and if that is the case, we will see what happens," he added in L'Equipe.

"I have some very important games coming up for Bordeaux and it is important I recover for them and keep the same rhythm.

"I just want to get my freshness back and concentrate again on my club form."

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