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Manchester City's new signing French midfielder Patrick Vieira applauds the crowd before the English Premier League football match against Blackburn Rovers at The City of Manchester stadium, Manchester, north-west England on January 11, 2010.(Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

Former World Cup winner Patrick Vieira thinks an African team could lift the trophy this year.

Vieira, who was born in Senegal but was part of the France team that won the 1998 tournament on home soil, said Thursday that Ivory Coast and Cameroon were best placed to be Africa's first World Cup winner since many of their players are with Europe's leading clubs.

"I would love to see France winning the World Cup again. It would be fantastic," Vieira said. "But seeing Ivory Coast or Cameroon lifting the trophy would mean a lot to myself and to the African continent."

Vieira was left out of France's squad for this year's tournament but believes the team can win the tournament despite patchy form in qualifying.

France, which was runner-up in 2006, kicks off Friday against Uruguay before facing Mexico and host South Africa in Group A.

"It's always difficult to play against Uruguay because they are really well organized team and tactically they are strong enough," Vieira told The Associated Press. "It will be tough but hopefully France will come out and win the game."