Deschamps not focused on revenge or politics for crunch Turkey clash

By Sports Desk October 13, 2019

France head coach Didier Deschamps refused to be drawn into the geopolitical controversy surrounding Turkey's national team ahead of Monday's Euro 2020 qualification showdown.

Some of Turkey's players gave a military-style salute after Cenk Tosun's winning goal against Albania in Istanbul on Friday – actions that have been widely interpreted as a gesture of a support of the armed offensive against Kurds in Syria.

UEFA is looking into the matter but Deschamps wishes to focus squarely upon securing the victory that would secure a place at next year's finals for the world champions.

"We know the importance of the match. It's a confrontation against an opponent who has the same number of points as us," he told a pre-match news conference for the game at the Stade de France.

"There will be a good atmosphere, that's obvious. As for the geopolitical problems, they are there but we will not think about that.

"We are in a sporting sphere. We must stay focused on it.

"I will not go into this debate [about Turkey's goal celebration]. What interests me is just the match."

Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane was similarly one-track in his assessment of opponents who prevailed when they last met at the Torku Arena in June

"It [the celebration controversy] is not something that concerns us. We, we have an extra motivation, which is due to the pitch and our bad performance at Konya," he said.

"We want to make a great football match and give pleasure to the fans. And to qualify of course."

However, Deschamps feels being motivated solely by a desire for revenge would be counter-productive against a foe he rates highly.

"There is never revenge. We will not recover points that we lost," he said. "They beat us at home and that's another game.

"It's just a match that can be decisive. We have to make things happen differently this time.

"There is nothing positive to keep for us from that game at Konya, except Hugo Lloris' performance. We failed and they were very good. But it will not necessarily be the same match.

"Turkey are a team that has 18 points and they did not steal them. They are efficient and strong.

"They have only conceded two goals [during qualification] from set pieces. They have interesting offensive potential also with [Burak] Yilmaz, [Cenk] Tosun and [Hakan] Calhanoglu.

"They are experienced and animated by a state of mind and a passion. They've played some very good matches, especially against us. They have character."

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