By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Sometimes footballers are accused of not caring about international duty. That certainly cannot be levelled at Mathieu Debuchy who, on the eve of the World Cup, talks national anthem singing, nerves and winning mentalities…
As France take to the pitch for their opening game of the 2014 World Cup, you will struggle to find a prouder man inside the Estadio Beira-Rio than Mathieu Debuchy.
Les Bleus will face Honduras in Group E in Porto Alegre on Sunday night and, all things considered, Newcastle star Debuchy stands a great chance of lining up on the right-hand side of their defence.
It would cap a remarkable rise for a player who made his senior international bow less than three years ago.
Debuchy knows just what it means to pull on the famous blue jersey, and anyone watching him belt out La Marseillaise will have a fair idea too.
"As long as I make the selection then I am really excited and looking forward to the World Cup," he explained, when chatting to nufc.co.uk last month.
"Representing your country is such a special moment which never gets old.
"When you put on the shirt and hear the national anthem it is a very intense moment.
"It is really important for me to sing the national anthem. I sing it loud, telling myself I am one of the best players in France, representing my country.
"I tell myself that I have to give my all, I have to do well, because there are millions of people willing us on who would love to be in our boots.
"It's a moment of pride and duty to serve my country. I cannot wait to go out there and play in Brazil."
It will be a first World Cup experience for a player who shot to international prominence with some eye-catching performances at Euro 2012.
Reportedly a target for the Magpies back then, Debuchy was eventually snapped up in January 2013 and has quickly settled in to life at St. James' Park, becoming a fans' favourite.
And the 28-year-old is as calm and collected off the pitch as he is on it, insists he will have no nerves when France get set to announce their final squad.
"I have given everything for Newcastle during this season and can do no more to try and win a place," said the full-back.
"On the day, I will watch on television and follow it. The manager will make his choice and if he picks me, then fantastic, I can't wait to go.
"It would be really important to me. If I can go then it would just be even better than the last European Championships, which was my first experience of a major tournament.
"The World Cup is even bigger, so it would be amazing to go.
"It's a major asset to have played in a huge tournament like Euro 2012 against some great teams. That can only be a positive for me."
And what can France achieve in a tournament where, as well as Honduras, they also face Switzerland and Ecuador in the group stages?
Debuchy plays his cards close to his chest and refuses to be drawn on anything more than progression from Group E.
However, with a star-studded squad alongside him, the former Lille man hinted that his nation have the right mental strength to make a real impact on the tournament.
"It's going to be quite hard but it could be worse. We could have been landed in a group with stronger teams," said Debuchy.
"But you have to turn up to each game and cannot take anyone lightly. We've got every chance of going through but we must make sure we turn up at every game.
"If you are going to go far, you need to have a good group of players, a good squad, with a strong winning mentality. If you have that, then anything is possible.
"I hope we can go far. Our first target is to get through the group and then we will see, because anything can happen from there."
This article was first produced for Newcastle United's official matchday programme against Cardiff City on Saturday, 3rd May. To purchase a copy of the World Cup special publication, click here.