Putting any national rivalries aside for the time being, France full-back Patrice Evra has wished England good luck ahead of their second World Cup group game against Uruguay on Thursday.
With Manchester United teammates Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck Chris Smalling and Phil Jones all a part of Roy Hodgson’s squad, the Premier League veteran knows the side better than most and acknowledged he would like to see them get a result in their decisive fixture.
‘I just wish the English good luck for tomorrow,’ Evra said. ‘I don’t have much more to say because many of my friends are playing for that team. Before we left, we were teasing each other, saying either France or England will not make it to the knockout stage. But seriously, I wish them good luck.’
One also has to wonder if the fact Uruguay are led by noted adversary Luis Suarez may partly play into Evra’s desires to see England conquer La Celeste in Sao Paulo but, if so, the United stalwart was keeping such sentiment to himself.
With France themselves coming off a 3-0 opening win over Honduras, Didier Deschamps’ side face Switzerland on Friday, hoping to move a step closer to securing their place in the last 16, while simultaneously exorcising the demons of their 2010 tournament which ended in turmoil.
Crashing out at the group stages after a player led revolt over unpopular manager Raymond Domenech, a government-led inquiry saw captain Evra receive a five-match international ban for his part in the incident, with Franck Ribery, Jeremy Toulalan and Nicolas Anelka also receiving sanctions.
Though facing calls for him to be banned for life from the national team, he nevertheless returned to the France setup to reclaim his starting role soon after, going into Brazil this summer as the first-choice left-back, upon fighting off fierce competition from the emerging Lucas Digne.
Despite signing a one-year contract extension last month, a hugely disappointing past season, in which the 33-year-old’s declining physical skills were all too apparent, does however leave Evra’s future at United looking far from prosperous for the coming campaign.
The ex-Monaco star will thus need to prove to incoming-manager Louis van Gaal over the next few weeks that he still has something to offer to the club, particularly in the wake of rumours linking both Danny Blind and Luke Shaw with a move to Old Trafford.
A successful World Cup run would certainly be a good place to start and, based on the first round of group matches, Evra’s France seemingly have a much better chance of tasting success in Brazil than his club teammates with England.