France midfielder Adrien Rabiot on Friday praised the defending world champions’ preparation for the Qatar World Cup as it looks to make amends for the early exit at last year’s Euro championship.
Making his first World Cup appearance after having failed to make the squad that won the title four years ago, Rabiot said the team was able to prepare without distractions in Doha, Qatar, which had not been the case last year.
“The most important point is we have to stay united. So we don’t look outside the group for things that can harm our morale. We have the potential to do better than we did in the Euro,” Rabiot said ahead of its opening World Cup match against Australia on November 22.
“It is true that we have a lot of luxury this time around. We live in this little bubble. In the Euro, it was mid-COVID with a lot of restrictions and it made daily life difficult.”
The world champions crashed out of the Euros last year at the round of 16 stage after losing to Switzerland.
“Here we got a lot of comfort and we can be all together and to try to ignore everything for the outside,” he said.
France is missing several players through injury, including Presnel Kimpembe, Paul Pogba and N’golo Kante while forward Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane are with the squad but are nursing injuries.
“They are working on it and I trust they will be with us soon. Outside the group, the other injuries came before we came together. They are important players but unfortunately, they are not here today so we have to do it without them,” Rabiot said.
As for his World Cup debut, Rabiot is out for “revenge” after missing out on the trophy-winning run four years ago.
Back in 2018, Rabiot had spectacularly refused a role as a reserve player for the World Cup squad with his coach Didier Deschamps branding the player’s decision at the time a “massive mistake” before recalling him in 2020.
France also plays Denmark and Tunisia in Group D.
“It was such a big disappointment not to be selected for the 2018 World Cup. I see it as revenge. I am grateful to be here. We want to reach the final we have the chance to do something historic so we are very excited,” he said.