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French desperate to restore image

PARIS (AFP) - The French football season gets underway on Saturday with players and fans well aware that some remedial action is required to patch up its tainted image after a disastrous World Cup campaign in South Africa.

The national team had a terrible time on the field, losing two of their three group matches and drawing the other.

They also hit the headlines off it thanks to a one-day player strike caused by the French federation's decision to send home striker Nicolas Anelka after an abusive tirade against coach Raymond Domenech.

Not surprisingly the players involved, such as Marseille winger Mathieu Valbuena, are bracing themselves for a volley of abuse from the stands when they kick off on Saturday.

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