Korea Republic  

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Four years ago, everyone would have had Les Bleus down as favourites to take Group G. However, their traumatic experiences at Korea/Japan 2002 have left their mark and France's encounter with Togo - who, like Senegal in 2002, are making their first appearance at a FIFA World Cupô finals - is far from a foregone conclusion. For their part, Switzerland proved to be more than a handful for France during the qualifiers, while Korea Republic's performance in Asia has earned them everyone's respect. Everything therefore points to this group being more open than it would first appear.
  Standings and Results
Group G MP W D L GF GA Pts
SUI 3 2 1 0 4 0 7
FRA 3 1 2 0 3 1 5
KOR 3 1 1 1 3 4 4
TOG 3 0 0 3 1 6 0

13 Jun FRA : SUI 0:0
13 Jun KOR : TOG 2:1
18 Jun FRA : KOR 1:1
19 Jun TOG : SUI 0:2
23 Jun TOG : FRA  
23 Jun SUI : KOR  

A date for the diary: Stuttgart, 13 June, France v Switzerland
This derby between the 'Alpine neighbours' is one of the classic confrontations. The sides played out two hard-fought draws (0-0 and 1-1) in Group 4 of their qualifying campaign, although France got the upper hand with a 2-0 victory at UEFA EURO 2004.

David versus Goliath: Cologne, 23 June, Togo v France
On paper, this would appear to be an extremely one-sided contest between the world champions and a Togo side making their first appearance on world football's greatest stage. However, one need only think back to Senegal...

History repeats itself: Leipzig, 18 June, France v Korea Republic
The two sides met in a friendly on 26 May 2002, a few days before the finals in Korea/Japan kicked off, with France managing to snatch a hard-earned 3-2 victory.

France, winners of the competition in 1998, and Korea Republic, semi-finalists on home soil in 2002, will start as slight favourites in this group. However, there is very little to choose between them and Switzerland, who were unbeaten in finishing second in their qualifying group. Still smarting from their ignominious first-round exit four years ago, France will be adopting a highly cautious approach this time round. Raymond Domenech's men topped Group 4 ahead of Switzerland, inspired largely by the return from retirement of the 'old guard', Zinedine Zidane, Lilian Thuram and Claude Makelele.

Alexander Frei and Johann Vogel, both of whom play in Ligue 1 in France, know their French opponents inside and out. Frei, who finished as the leading marksman in France last season, will be out to prove his worth following a disappointing end to Switzerland's qualifying campaign where he was below his best, particularly against the Republic of Ireland.

Before coming up against the French again in what could prove to be one of the key clashes in the group, Korea Republic should get a good work-out against Togo in their first match. The Hawks will be looking to cause an upset in their first appearance at a FIFA World Cup finals and they are capable of doing so with players of the calibre of Emmanuel Adebayor, the top scorer in the qualifiers with 11, among their ranks.

Did you know?
Zinedine Zidane suffered a damaged thigh muscle in a friendly against Korea Republic three days before the 2002 FIFA World Cupô kicked off, an injury which kept him out of France's first two matches of the competition.