Nations League campaign 'not a shipwreck' for France ahead of Qatar 2022, says Deschamps

By Sports Desk September 25, 2022

France boss Didier Deschamps insisted his side are far from "a shipwreck" after losing 2-0 to Denmark in their final game before heading to Qatar 2022.

Les Bleus will head into their World Cup trophy defence in November on the back of a poor Nations League campaign that saw them limp home third in Group A1.

Three losses in competitive matches since March means France have already matched their worst-ever record in that regard for a calendar year.

Having been tipped as strong contenders to be world champions again, France's second loss to the Danes in 2022 – ahead of a Group D battle between the teams in Qatar – has set off alarm bells among supporters.

Deschamps, who guided the team to glory at Russia 2018, has pushed back against suggestions his side are in crisis, pointing to both his decision to field a younger side and comparing France's form to other major rivals struggling for results.

"I don't think it's a shipwreck," he told TF1. "We had a lot of chances. We were weak, we made errors when playing out from the back.

"It is a young French side, which in the most part doesn't have players with experience at the very highest level. It is not a question of systems.

"We mustn't worry. Having the players with international experience back will do us good. There's no worrying. It's difficult for everyone.

"Yesterday, I was watching other games. There are other big teams losing as well. We shouldn't think of ourselves as better than them. We are going to have to fight."

Deschamps added: "I'm not going to darken the situation any further. This is a reminder of what will be waiting for us in two months."

Kylian Mbappe struggled in parts against Denmark, and looked to be nursing a minor knock at one point, but Deschamps was quick to assure that he is unconcerned about the Paris Saint-Germain forward's game.

"Kylian has done a lot of good things. He's also one of the few players to have played 90 minutes twice in three days," Deschamps said.

"He cannot do everything. He was more decisive three days ago, yes, but like the whole team, I am not worried about Kylian."

Related items

  • Disheartening and gut-wrenching: Price condemns killing of former Boys' Town player Rafiek Thomas Disheartening and gut-wrenching: Price condemns killing of former Boys' Town player Rafiek Thomas

    President of Boys' Town Football Club Andrew Price says he is struggling to come to grip with the brutal slaying of former player Rafiek “Fari” Thomas, who gunned down at his home  in Denham Town on Tuesday.

    It is reported that about 4:40am, unknown assailants gained access to Thomas’ residence, in the troubled West Kingston community, and shot him several times in his bed. Another man was also injured during the home invasion.

    Thomas, 40, was well-known for his goal scoring exploits in local football, especially during his time at Boys’ Town and Tivoli Gardens. He also represented Harbour View, Waterhouse, and Humble Lion throughout his career, before returning to the Boys’ Town.

    He scored the match-winning goal for the Collie Smith Drive-based club when they copped the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) Wray and Nephew Championship last season.

    They retained the title with a penalty shoot-out win over Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) on Sunday, but their celebrations were cut short by the tragic news, which has plunged the football fraternity has once again been plunged into mourning.

    A disheartened club president Andrew Price expressed condolence to Thomas’s family and friends, as he remembered the player as passionate, inspirational and humble.

    “It is so sad when you hear another life snuffed out through crime and violence in inner city communities. Rafiek Thomas was an inspirational player, very skillful, and a prolific goal scorer. I enjoyed coaching him. He was a gem to coach, always unassuming, humble individual, so I'm taking this very, badly to awake to this type of news after the club's triumphant Sunday night it is just really disheartening and gut-wrenching,” Price said.

    “Such a talented individual; he was always willing to assist, to impress, to guide the youngsters and even at his age, he was still a prolific goal scorer. One of the last goals he scored was a year ago in the finals of the Championship against Constant Spring. So we will remember Rafiek for how passionate he was both on and off the field. It's sad to hear that his life has ended in this tragic manner and it reinforces the need to engage football as a socializing effect in communities,” he added.

  • Los Angeles FC v Minnesota United: Long aiming to build on LAFC's growing momentum Los Angeles FC v Minnesota United: Long aiming to build on LAFC's growing momentum

    Defender Aaron Long has praised Los Angeles FC's recent defensive strength as they prepare to welcome Minnesota United to BMO Stadium on Wednesday.

    LAFC have won their last four in all competitions without conceding a goal, with Saturday's 1-0 victory over Atlanta United their 100th MLS regular-season win.  

    They currently sit fourth in the Western Conference with 24 points and can leapfrog opponents Minnesota United if they continue their winning streak.

    "We touched on it a little bit earlier in the year when I was asked about giving up a lot of goals in a lot of weird ways," said Long.

    "We pride ourselves on being a good defensive team with a good structure and getting 11 guys behind the ball and working hard.

    "More than anything, I think we have strikers, forwards and midfielders who can score a lot of goals. If we can hold zeros, we can win a lot of games. We held four zeros in a row, four wins, so let's try and keep the ball rolling."

    When asked about reaching the milestone of their 100th win last Saturday, Long added: "To be the fastest to 100 or tied as the fastest to 100, is a huge, monumental step. I think it's something that the club should be proud of."

    Meanwhile, Minnesota are second in the table, just four points behind leaders Real Salt Lake City after a 3-3 draw with Colorado Rapids last weekend.

    They have not lost any of their last seven matches, and forward, Tani Oluwaseyi is looking forward to facing off against a tough opponent.

    He said: "You always want to face the great teams and LAFC is a marquee team with a lot of really good players, really big players. Hopefully, we can put a great game plan together to go into that game."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    LAFC – Mateusz Bogusz

    Bogusz scored LAFC's lone goal in their win in Atlanta on Saturday. Only four players have scored Los Angeles FC's 15 goals since the beginning of April (excluding own goals): Denis Bouanga (six), Mateusz Bogusz (four), Cristian Olivera (three) and Timothy Tillman (two).

    Minnesota – Tani Oluwaseyi

    Oluwaseyi scored the second of Minnesota’s three goals on Saturday at Colorado, scoring for the third-straight MLS road game. Oluwaseyi is the second Minnesota player to score in three straight regular-season away matches after Franco Fragapane did so in June-July 2022.

    MATCH PREDICTION: LOS ANGELES FC WIN

    LAFC have won five straight matches in all competitions, keeping clean sheets in the last four. This equals their second-longest all-competition winning streak (seven straight in 2022) while it's the second time LAFC have kept clean sheets in four straight matches (April 2023).

    Meanwhile, Minnesota are unbeaten in six straight matches following a 3-3 draw at Colorado on Saturday (W4 D2). The Loons have scored multiple goals in all six games during that run.

    Indeed, Minnesota ended a seven-match winless run against LAFC with a 2-0 home victory on March 16. Each team has won three times against the other with five of the 11 meetings ending in draws.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    LAFC – 51.5%

    Draw – 25.3%

    Minnesota – 23.2%

  • Fiorentina can use 'bitterness' from 2023 Europa Conference League final defeat, says Italiano Fiorentina can use 'bitterness' from 2023 Europa Conference League final defeat, says Italiano

    Vincenzo Italiano has urged Fiorentina to use their "bitterness" from last year's defeat in the Europa Conference League final against Olympiacos on Wednesday.

    Fiorentina lost the 2023 Europa Conference League final in Prague to West Ham 2-1, conceding in the 90th minute to miss out on the chance to lift the trophy.

    The Viola have not lost a game in the competition on the way to the final, holding off Club Brugge 4-3 on aggregate to reach the final for the second consecutive year.

    Despite suffering disappointment last year, Italiano is hopeful his team can use that as a lesson to lead them to the trophy this time around.

    "The only thing that's different is that we've already experienced certain things," Italiano told a press conference before Wednesday's final.

    "We have a bit of experience; we carry that with us and tomorrow we have to show it. We can't make any mistakes; we must stay alert and focused.

    "Last year we didn't have a good ending. We'll bring that bitterness to make it end differently."

    Meanwhile, Olympiacos are aiming to make history by becoming the first Greek side to win a European trophy.

    Jose Luis Mendilibar, who won the Europa League with Sevilla last season, took over Olympiacos in February and is leading the team out for the final in their home city of Athens.

    In a press conference on Tuesday, Mendilibar said he would not be making any changes, approaching this game as they have the rest.

    "We have to stay calm and relaxed and do what got us to the final. To change anything would be a mistake.

    "We have to treat this game like any other because that's how we managed to get to the final.

    "Along the way, we've crossed the whole of Europe, playing against a lot of opponents.

    "At times we were favourites, and then underdogs again. There are so many different moments and I think we could call it a marathon, and now we've reached the end."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.