Didier Deschamps: “We will leave with a four-man defense”

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Didier Deschamps: “We will leave with a four-man defense”

“Why did you select 25 players (he could have taken 26)?
I believe that taking 25 players gives us enough security. The players who are in the list are supposed to be fit for the first game. This list will be made official next Monday at 7 p.m., with the possibility of changing the players until D-1 of our first match. (vs Australia, November 22) in case of injury.

Karim Benzema has missed a lot of matches since the start of the season…
I spoke with Karim. If he was not on the field, it was because he had two small physical problems to manage. The medical staff exchanged. There is no concern about his situation and the deadlines that are ours. Compared to what the World Cup represents, he is very vigilant. He did 30 minutes last week, he felt discomfort the next day or two days after. But I repeat, there is nothing to worry about.

You have selected 9 defenders, including 8 training centrals. Are we moving towards a four-man defense?
I confirm it, we will start with a four-man defense. It’s always a long reflection, a lot of discussions with my staff. I also consider the feelings of certain players. It is important. We have done very good things in this system (at three) but we were also in difficulty. We were very often out of balance. And I know too well that to exist in a great competition, you have to be solid defensively. We will have to defend well, and defend better, but not to the detriment of the offensive animation. I take this option because I am convinced that it is better, that it is more suitable.

“I consider that they (the Hernandez brothers) provide more guarantees. »

Does this choice to opt for a four-man defense explain the non-selection of Jonathan Clauss?
I am well aware of his immense disappointment, just like Lucas Digne. These are sporting choices. As far as Jonathan is concerned, the system is indeed the main reason.

What prompted you to favor the Hernandez brothers (Lucas and Théo) to the detriment of Ferland Mendy and Lucas Digne on the left?
It is a matter of competition. If I make this choice, it is because I consider that they provide more guarantees.

Where are Presnel Kimpembe and Raphaël Varane?
Presnel will be available for the PSG match this weekend. For Raphaël, things are going in the right direction. He may be available for the first game (against Australia). He is in a rehabilitation phase. We know where they are.

You have often explained that the three-man system made it possible to put Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema in the best conditions. How are you going to organize yourselves?
You are asking too much of me, I will not answer you. One of those players shifting to one side is an option, yes. But there are others. I know how we’ll start, provided nothing bad happens. The ideal is to put all the players in the best position. But there may be some small changes.

“His situation (that of Giroud) today is not the same as in the summer of 2021”

Could you consider Antoine Griezmann as a midfielder with the return of this four-man defense?
Antoine is in an offensive role but he has this ability to have a high volume of play. Even when he is offensive, that does not prevent him from coming back very low, sometimes too much for my taste. In his club he does it too. At times he changes position, he finds himself in a triangle in the middle of the field, it does not pose a problem for him. It’s a balance to find.

You insisted that Olivier Giroud would not be at the World Cup if Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappé were available…
(he cuts) Did I say that ? You interpreted that. I have a position in relation to Olivier which is not specific to him. I have a word that is very important, it is to adapt. To adapt is not to contradict oneself, it is to take into account the reality of the moment. I haven’t changed in my head, but there are things that, through discussions I have with Olivier, with other players, lead me to reflect. If I make this choice, it is because: one, I trust Olivier; and two, his situation today is not the same as in the summer of 2021. I am not obtuse, narrow-minded. […] I trust him. He knows it. On the field and off the field.

You have often said that you were reluctant to field four attacking players at the start of a high-level match. Have you changed your mind?
With four offensives, the balance is more random. On 90 minutes, it may be an option at some point. We will not have studs in front. If you have the ball, you don’t have to worry. It gives variety. But if you don’t have it, the defensive balance is more complicated. It’s not because you put more forwards that you will score more goals. It’s a matter of efficiency.

Do you feel ready to tackle this World Cup in the best conditions?
What are the best conditions? Were we in the best conditions in 2018? Oh, in 2021 (the euro), we were there ! We were the most beautiful, the strongest. There are difficulties, two major absentees with Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté… We are in a complicated situation but it’s the same for all the teams. There are many injured, again yesterday with (Sadio) Mane (Senegal). I have confidence in this group and I’m sure they will do everything to fight. We will have to be thorough. But we will be there. The revealer is the competition. We have a status, OK, but that does not give us a guarantee. I am always of a positive philosophy. The energy, the determination, they are there.

Is Mike Maignan definitely forfeited for the World Cup?
If he is not on the list, it is because it is not possible for him to be operational in relation to the deadlines.

“You know what the two players who are not there (Kanté and Pogba) represent in terms of experience, of leadership. »

There are a lot of central defenders in this list… How are you going to deal with the disappointed ones?
What I know, and which humanly is not pleasant for me, is that already there, I made a lot of disappointed. The 25 are all very happy. They all want to be in the starting XI on the 22nd (against Australia), but it will not be possible. The management of players who play little or not at all… our objective is not to lose anyone. Concerning them requires game time. Will they all have it? Ideally, yes. They will all be at least on the score sheet. At the Euro, you had to send three to the stands. I will need everyone. We don’t know what can happen.

Benjamin Pavard seems to be the only right-back…
That’s your impression, your interpretation. This is not the only one. I had long discussions with the players who will play in the right lane (Pavard and Koundé), they know what I expect of them. I’m not here to convince you.

Can you be a world champion with such a young and inexperienced midfielder?
I don’t have the answer, no one can have it. It is reality. I don’t want to add more because I trust them. You know what the two players who are not there (Kanté and Pogba) represent in terms of experience, of leadership. Fortunately, these players (Tchouaméni, Fofana, Guendouzi, Veretout…) have had playing time. It’s not going to give them the experience that Paul (Pogba) and NG (Kanté) can accumulate, but it’s always that. They will do everything. Paul and NG did not happen overnight. Potentially they have what it takes.

“(For goalkeeper number 2) I know it but I will first inform those concerned before telling you. »

Who will be goalkeeper number 2?
I know it but I will inform those concerned first before telling you.

Why did you call Mandanda who was not there during all the previous gatherings?
Because he is an experienced player. Steve made sure to continue to be competitive. […] There will be a hierarchy, of course.

A word on the selection of Ibrahima Konaté?
Ibou is one of the young defenders. Unfortunately, he had two injuries, one a bit long. We are not at that age a holder in Liverpool and European champion by chance. Potentially, he has many qualities. He has a high quality heading game, he is good in the duel, he is fast, he is rather skilful with the ball.

Did you hesitate to select Eduardo Camavinga?
I don’t listen to rumours, otherwise I think I’d be taking tubes of aspirin every day. Eduardo immediately showed very interesting things when he came with us. It was more complicated afterwards, he is in a club with a lot of competition, he is often used as a joker. What penalizes him in his development is not having more playing time. But he is at Real Madrid. He only has internationals in front of him. He doesn’t do everything well, but despite everything, something happens when he is on the pitch. It can be used in different positions. And then he has a high quality mindset. He is someone who always has a smile.

In the last three editions, the reigning world champion has been eliminated in the group stage (Italy in 2010, Spain in 2014 and Germany in 2018)…
I’ll take another tube of aspirin. You want to undermine my morale, right? It shows the difficulty and the requirement of the high level. Winning is difficult. Hold on, even more. Only one wins every four years. We are not going to go there by telling it to each other.

Can Adrien Rabiot occupy a progressive position, like Blaise Matuidi in 2018?
He has already done it at Juventus Turin. He played in different positions. Today, his development leads him to have a wider palette. I like the formula he used to define himself: a balance player. For a coach, that has a lot of value. And for a coach too. »


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