Didier Deschamps

Euro 2020: Knockout games bring the best out of France – Hugo Lloris

A depleted France will draw motivation from the threat of elimination as they prepare to face Switzerland in their European Championship last-16 match, captain Hugo Lloris said on Sunday. World champions France topped Group F with one win and two draws ahead of Portugal and Germany but key players in their backline have picked up injuries to give coach Didier Deschamps a selection headache on Monday. While Ousmane Dembele and Marcus Thuram are unavailable, Deschamps confirmed full backs Jules Kounde and Lucas Digne are also ruled out against the Swiss. Left back Lucas Hernandez, who injured his knee, has a chance to feature. Speaking at a news conference, goalkeeper Lloris said France – who finished runners-up in 2016 – were accustomed to do-or-die situations and thrived under pressure. “W...

Euro 2020: France avoid major upset in draw vs Hungary

France were forced to wait to secure qualification for the knockout stages of the Euros after they were held by a resilient Hungary to a 1-1 draw in front of a capacity crowd at the Puskas Arena in Budapest. Meeting in scorching sunshine in front of more than 60,000 fans, Hungary stunned the world champions by taking a shock lead through Attila Fiola when he burst clear to finish calmly beyond Hugo Lloris in first-half injury time. France were rocked heading into the break but equalize through Antoine Griezmann in the 66th minute following some route-one football from goalkeeper Lloris and clever hold-up play by Kylian Mbappe. France pressed strongly in the closing stages but failed to get the breakthrough as a raucous crowd in Budapest celebrated as if their team had won. The result puts ...

Euro 2020: Wales set for hostile crowd as Italy eye knockouts

Wales are bracing for a hostile reception when they face Turkey in Baku at Euro 2020 on Wednesday while rejuvenated Italy can seal their place in the last-16 with victory against Switzerland. After drawing 1-1 with the Swiss in their opening Group A game, Wales play in the capital of Azerbaijan, with locals expected to get behind their Turkish neighbours, who will also have several thousand travelling fans on their side. Wales captain Gareth Bale, who experienced a dizzying run to the semi-finals at Euro 2016, said he was unfazed by the prospect of an aggressive atmosphere. “Hostility is no problem,” said the Real Madrid forward. “This is what we do for a living. We’re used to playing in away games and being in front of hostile crowds.” Turkey are desperate to shake off the disappointment ...

France coach fires warning ahead of Euro 2020 opener

Didier Deschamps has attempted to play down the hype surrounding his France side going to the European Championship, warning those who think they “have already won” that plenty of hard work lies ahead. The 2018 World Cup winners are favourites to land this summer’s tournament, with Deschamps possessing a hugely talented squad with depth in all areas. That has understandably caused excitement among the supporters across the country, something Deschamps is keen to temper before the big kick-off. Asked whether not winning the tournament would be considered a failure given the talent at his disposal, Deschamps told Mundo Deportivo: “Right away there is talk of failure. We are world champions. I am aware, and the players are too, of our strengths. “We have quality, talent, high-level players, b...

Paul Pogba: N’Golo Kante star is a ‘smart kid’ and a ‘cunning’ player

N’Golo Kante “cheats a lot”, according to Paul Pogba, who has described the Chelsea star as a “smart kid” and a “cunning” player. Kante has established himself as one of the top midfielders in Europe since joining Leicester City from Caen in 2015, helping the Foxes win the Premier League title before also going on to lift the trophy with Chelsea. The 30-year-old has a World Cup winners’ medal to his name too, having been part of the triumphant 2018 France squad alongside Pogba, who has now revealed that his compatriot will do whatever it takes to win, even if it means bending the rules. The Manchester United talisman told beIN Sports of his international colleague: “He cheats a lot. A lot. At card games, board games. Honestly, I’m telling the truth. He cheats. “He says he doesn’t cheat, bu...

WCQ: Tottenham’s Tanguy Ndombele returns to France squad

Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele has been rewarded for his upturn in form with a recall to the France squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers. The 24-year-old hasn’t featured for Les Bleus since the summer of 2019 but now has the chance to add to his six international caps in matches against Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Other notable returnees include Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Lemar, who hasn’t featured since November 2019, while Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele, a member of their 2018 World Cup-winning squad, is back for the first time in two-and-a-half years. This represents Ndombele’s first international call up since his club-record €60 million (£54m/$68m) move from Lyon to Tottenham. The Frenchman arrived in north London with a reputation as an all-action midf...

UEFA Nations League: France draw Belgium, Italy to face Spain in semi-finals

The draw for the UEFA Nations League finals has been conducted, with World Cup holders France set to square off against world number ones Belgium while hosts Italy face Spain next October. The European governing body rubber-stamped Milan and Turin as the cities set to welcome the second edition of the tournament’s showpiece last four event on Thursday, confirming that the Group 1A winners would be on home soil. Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri will welcome La Roja under the stewardship of Luis Enrique to San Siro on October 6, while Didier Deschamps’ Bleus will face Les Diables Rouges led by Roberto Martinez at Allianz Stadium a day later. The winners will then meet in Milan three days later on October 10, with the third-place play-off unfolding in Turin upon the same date. The second semi-final ...