france warm up in Tunisia

LES BLEUS of France are heading to North Africa for a training camp in Tunisia ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in June.

The 1998 World Cup winners have also lined up an international friendly with the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in the capital Tunis on May 30. The Carthage Eagles failed to qualify for the World Cup after losing 1-0 to Mozambique on the last day of qualifying, a result that saw Nigeria finishing on top in their group.

The Thierry Henry-led France will also play games against China in Reunion and against Costa Rica at a venue still to be determined.

They will arrive in South Africa on June 6.

France qualified for the tournament in dramatic fashion after in a controversial playoff match against Ireland, winning 2-1 on aggregate.

This was after Henry controlled the ball with his hand before setting up compatriot William Gallas to score the goal that booked them a ticket to South Africa.

France, who will be based in Knysna in Western Cape during the World Cup, are in Group A with South Africa's Bafana Bafana, Uruguay and Mexico.

England-based dribbling wizard Steven "Schillo" Pienaar reckons Bafana Bafana will make history by reaching the World Cup knockout stages this time round.

This was after they were eliminated in the group stages in 1998 and 2002. Pienaar has described France as a major threat to Bafana Bafana in the group.

"Mexico and Uruguay play quite similar to us, only France will be a bit of a challenge for us. The crowd will boost the players and we will be confident with them behind us," Pienaar said.

Denmark will also be based in Knysna, with Paraguay in Mossel Bay and Japan in George. Ghana have announced that their camp will be in Mpumalanga.

England have reached an agreement with Royal Bafokeng Holdings to stay at the new state-of-the-art sports facility in Phokeng. Holland will set up base in Johannesburg.