Deschamps puts France on guard for Wales test
Didier Deschamps has warned his France squad they need to "perform as well as possible" in Friday's friendly with Wales and next week's encounter with world champions Germany as he finetunes his 2018 FIFA World Cup plans.
Friday, 10 November, 2017
International friendly, Stade de France, Paris
France - Wales
Deschamps, who recently signed a contract extension with the French Football Federation (FFF) through to 2020, will lead Les Bleus to Russia next summer with high hopes of adding to the one world title his nation claimed with him as captain in 1998.
Though packed with high-profile performers such as Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, Paris Saint-Germain's exciting young forward Kylian Mbappe and Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann, France under-performed in qualifying, finishing as unimpressive group winners despite losing in Sweden and drawing 0-0 at home to Luxembourg en route.
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Deschamps told his squad the upcoming matches will have an impact on the decisions he makes in drawing up his 23-man squad for the final tournament.
"It will have an influence because I'm going to get some answers in relation to the squad and individual performances," he told media at the France team's training base at Clairefontaine, just outside Paris.
"It's in the interest of all the players to play as well as possible. There will also be the two matches in March after which I'll have to decide after a long period of reflection."
Varane, Coman boost
Despite coming into the international break with injuries, both Real Madrid centre-back Raphaël Varane (groin) and Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman (foot) will be available for the game at the Stade de France.
"Of course we have room for improvement," said Deschamps in response to the criticism his team's playing style has received. "There are always going to be the fundamentals of a team, but if there aren't, it's up to the others who don't get to play as much to take up the challenge. It's still the time to be open to that, to have more information ahead of the final list in May."
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That will be music to the ears of Sevilla midfielder Steven N'Zonzi and Stuttgart's former LOSC Lille defender Benjamin Pavard, both of whom have been called up into the senior squad for the first time.
France: Mandanda; Jallet, Koscielny, Umtiti, Kurzawa; Tolisso, Matuidi; Mbappé, Griezmann, Coman; Giroud
Wales: Hennessey; Gunter, Williams, Chester, Davies; King, Allen, Ledley; Ramsey, Lawrence; Vokes