Captain Patrice Evra brushed aside France's troubled build-up to declare on Thursday that they can win the FIFA World Cup™.
The Manchester United star, who has established himself as one of the world's top full-backs since moving to England in January 2006, said the team was united in their belief. "I'm very confident and I trust us," he said on the eve of their opening Group A game against Uruguay at the Green Point Stadium here.
"I think we can go right to the end. That is what drives us. We are in very good health on and off the field and that is what is required to beat the very best teams, including Uruguay which is our first match."
His comments come with the team under pressure after a string of uninspiring performances which has left the country torn as to their prospects. Evra, one of United's most consistent performers this season, insisted that the team was unified and would play for national pride rather than individual glory amid concerns that egos could get in the way.
"I think we have a team which really wants to do something together, not as individuals," he said. "I think that is the difference. If we don't get through to the final, we would have approached the tournament in a good frame of mind. But we really want to do something as a collective."
Asked how France would approach the Uruguay game, Evra, who will be key on Friday to taming in-form strikers Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez, said he did not want to comment on the opposition, instead preferring to focus on France.
"We know Uruguay but I prefer to talk about my team. We have done everything to prepare," he said. "We'll have a major defensive wall and the Uruguayans will need to get around it."
Coach Raymond Domenech, who will be replaced by former skipper Laurent Blanc after the tournament, was also upbeat about his team's chances. "There are 23 players who are ready. I don't think the word to use to describe the team is calm. We are determined, a bit aggressive and impatient," he said.