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France players told to sing national anthem

New France coach Laurent Blanc has given his squad the words of the national anthem - to make sure they can sing along to La Marseillaise as they line up to face Belarus in Paris on Friday.

• Preview: All change for Blanc's France

Few French players usually sing the national anthem before their games and Blanc wants that to change, especially in light of their embarrassing performance and behaviour at World Cup.

Many French fans felt the players tarnished the country's reputation when they refused to train in South Africa in support of striker Nicolas Anelka, who was sent home for insulting former coach Raymond Domenech.

France begin their Euro 2012 qualification campaign against Belarus at the Stade de France and World Cup winner Blanc wants to usher in a new era - starting with a renewed sense of pride in representing Les Bleus, demonstrated by players singing the national anthem.

"It's a quite sensitive issue here and I've personally prompted the players to sing La Marseillaise tomorrow," Blanc told reporters on Thursday.

"They perfectly know what I think. I've passed the lyrics on to them so I think they'll be able to sing tomorrow," he added. "Everybody is free to do what he wants but when you know La Marseillaise, you sing it."

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