France boss Didier Deschamps was duly pleased by his side's dominant 2-0 friendly win over Ireland on Monday, noting the strong performance from Liverpool target Nabil Fekir in a much-changed starting line-up.
Monday, May 28, 2018
Stade de France, Paris
France 2 - 0 Republic of Ireland
Didier Deschamps (France coach): "I wouldn't say that the team lived up to all my expectations, that would be an exaggeration, but we controlled things well and made this Ireland side run a lot. They cracked at the end of the first half. In terms of intentions, movement and availability, we did a lot of good things. Still, with the rain, it got complicated to play a passing game. In the last quarter-hour, the ball wasn't rolling all that much and we had to battle it to get it to move. We had to adapt, and so did the Irish, which was a bit of a shame for the spectators. [On Nabil Fekir] He had only played a few minutes for us here and there, but Nabil was in great form. He was comfortable on the ball and in good shape physically. When the ball is at his feet, he knows what to do. And the way he linked up with Olivier [Giroud] and Kylian [Mbappé] was very promising. There was a fair bit of pressure on him, but I know what he's capable of and he did it very well."
Martin O'Neill (Republic of Ireland coach): "They are very strong, individually they have got a lot talent in their team. I think they're one of the favourites for the World Cup. I don't want to put pressure on their coach, but I think they have improved in the last two years and they are perhaps a better side than they were two years ago. I thought we were naturally second best this evening against a world-class team and that is possibly to be expected. It was really tough for us. I am really pleased we took this fixture on because if you're trying to aspire to something, then the quality the French possess is something you'd want. We're a long way off from that but the players can learn from it."