Even if for France, qualification is already assured in the round of 16 of Euro 2021, the coach of the Blues refuses to enter a game of calculation and will aim for the “best possible result” against Portugal, this Wednesday evening at 9 p.m. in Budapest in the last match of the group stage.
The first place of the group is the first objective. But can eliminating Portugal be an additional source of motivation?
DIDIER DESCHAMPS. Honestly, no. Our ambition is to obtain the best possible result tomorrow with an impact on the group and on the opponent. But, already, we must think of us. We want to play this game and do the best we can.
How much does the victory in Lisbon (1-0) in November weigh in your mind?
The 0-0 in Paris and the 1-0 in Portugal will serve us and Portugal. It will be a different story tomorrow. In the analysis, yes, of course. Portugal’s strengths are the same. They know us too. It will be a high level match.
You won 4-2-3-1 there. Do you want to renew this scheme?
As if I was going to answer you. The reflection is wider and deeper than that. There will be a starting choice which can be changed during the match.
Does qualifying change your preparation?
You won’t know until tomorrow. In the situation where we would have six points today, I would have had the same reflection. A negative result would have had the same impact. We have the assurance of being in the round of 16. It offers a certain tranquility. But that does not go against our ambition. I have been thinking since the last game.
There were physical glitches. Are you tempted to spin?
I think about it all. There is especially one seriously injured, it is Ousmane (Dembélé). We lose an offensive asset. The management must not go against our ambition, which is to keep the most competitive team in order to obtain the best result. I made a change between the first and the second game. I can do it again. All 25 players are available.
What do you do with the staff to avoid injuries as well as possible?
We’re doing the best we can. It goes from field to off, with sleep and diet. Those who don’t play can compensate with intensity in training, although it never replaces games. We had been able to make oppositions in previous competitions. With the sanitary bubble, it is impossible to set up.
Are you working on the relaunch with Hugo lloris as on the goal of the equalizer against Hungary?
Hugo has the ability to read. It is important. I have already discussed this with him. When Kylian (Mbappé) is in front with his speed, if the ball is interesting for him, there is danger. It’s the penultimate pass but Kylian’s speed allows Antoine’s goal (Griezmann) to come. The goalkeeper makes saves but is important in the construction of the game. These are options taken in each game. We discuss all this with Franck Raviot.
Griezmann confided his preference of the game in the axis. Did you talk to him about it?
I did not learn anything. He is able to play in all offensive positions and that his preferential position is in the axis. Beyond that, it is a more general reflection on the balance of the team.
What do you think of his technical relationship with Benzema?
It all depends on what the opponent is doing. We are able to do better on the sequences. There is no misunderstanding. It’s impossible with their technical relationship. There’s Kylian too. The earlier the attackers have the ball, the better. It depends on the defenders and the midfielders.
Is there a hierarchy on free kicks?
There is a bit of that. I won’t tell you. It’s like telling the opponents. Several players repeat the ranges, on free kick, from near, far, to the right, to the left.
Do you find that Portugal has changed in recent years?
The team is very strong. We saw it in the League of Nations. It remains dangerous in fast attack. It all depends on the eleven, on the animation. She’s also dangerous on set pieces. I consider them to be one of the best teams in Europe.
The last group matches never had an impact on the future for you. Why is this one different?
I remember Russia (in 2018). We are at six points. The draw suited France and the opponent. There is obviously an impact. I repeat. We would have had six points today, my thinking would not budge. I don’t want to get into calculations.