France friendly vital for Brazil’s morale: Fred

Porto Alegre, June 9 (IANS) Striker Fred admits Brazil must win Sunday night’s international friendly against France to restore their confidence ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup.

The match at Arena do Gremio will be Brazil’s last warmup fixture before their Confederations Cup debut against Japan in Brasilia June 15, reports Xinhua.

Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team has won just once since the 64-year-old replaced Mano Menezes as national coach in November. The victory against Bolivia has been accompanied by a loss to England and draws against Chile, Russia, Italy and England.

“This match will be important to build up our morale ahead of the tournament,” Fred said during a press conference Saturday.

The 29-year-old will face two of his former Lyon teammates, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, now at Tottenham Hotspur, and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.

“Benzema is a great striker, a player out of the ordinary,” Fred said. “And Lloris is a fantastic goalkeeper. I hope we can reduce their impact because that will go a long way to helping us win the match.”

Brazil have not defeated France since a 2-0 victory in Paris in 1992. Since then the teams have met on six occasions, with France winning four times, including a 3-0 victory in the 1998 World Cup final at Stade de France.

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