Defending 100m World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce continued her spectacular start to the 2022 season with a dominant win at Saturday’s Paris Diamond League.

Fraser-Pryce ran her second sub 10.7 clocking this season, equalling her own world-leading 10.67 for victory ahead of Great Britain’s Daryll Neita (10.99) and Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou (11.01).

The eight-time Olympic and nine-time World Championship medallist previously ran 10.67 at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi, Kenya on May 7.

Bahamian Olympic 400m Champions Steven Gardiner and Shaunae Miller-Uibo both also showed good form to secure 400m victories.

Gardiner, who is also the defending World Champion, produced a typically easy display of running to win in a season’s best 44.21, ahead of the Dominican Republic’s Lidio Andres Feliz (44.92) and South Africa’s Zakhiti Nene (44.99).

Miller-Uibo, on the other hand, went out extremely hard in the first three quarters of her race before shutting down with about 50 metres to go, to win in 50.10 ahead of Poland’s Natalia Kaczmarek (50.24) and Anna Kielbasinska (50.28).

Bahamian Devynne Charlton ran a season’s best 12.63 to finish second in the 100m hurdles behind Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan who did a personal best and African record 12.41 for victory. Great Britain’s Cindy Sember ran 12.73 for third.

Cuba’s Jordan Diaz Fortun (17.66m) and Andy Diaz (17.65) were the top two finishers in the triple jump ahead of Olympic Champion Pedro Pichardo of Portugal (17.49m).

 

Zinedine Zidane has always been a man focused on Real Madrid and France and therefore would not take the Paris Saint-Germain role should it become available.

That is the message from Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who briefly discussed the potential vacancy at PSG should reports prove to be true that Mauricio Pochettino will depart.

Pochettino lifted the Ligue 1 title with PSG in the 2021-22 season, his first trophy as a coach, but failed to deliver in the Champions League, falling to a last-16 exit against Madrid.

European glory remains the main goal for PSG's QSI ownership, with the understanding that Pochettino and the Ligue 1 giants have held discussions and agreed to part ways.

Zidane emerged as a frontrunner for the PSG job before Pochettino was appointed, but the preference of the 49-year-old remains to be seen.

Many believe Zidane is eyeing the France job should Didier Deschamps' Les Bleus role become available after the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

Zidane managed Madrid for two spells between 2016 and 2021, winning 11 trophies with Los Blancos – the second most successful manager in the club's history.

The Les Bleus great has also lifted PSG's much-desired Champions League crown on three occasions as a coach, with three consecutive successes in Europe's premier club competition between 2016 and 2018.

But Perez, speaking to the El Chiringuito programme in Spain, finds it hard to envisage PSG securing the services of Zidane.

 

"Zidane at Paris Saint-Germain? I don't know, but he's always been a man for Real Madrid and the French national team," Perez said. 

"That's what I know about him. But maybe he's now in a different situation."

Christophe Galtier, Julen Lopetegui and Marcelo Gallardo are also said to be among the favourites if Pochettino expectedly departs.

Sevilla defender Jules Kounde will undergo surgery for a hamstring injury on Tuesday, having been withdrawn at half-time of France’s 1-0 Nations League defeat to Croatia. 

The 23-year-old is a rumoured transfer target for Premier League heavyweights Chelsea, who were unable to complete a move 12 months ago but have revived their interest ahead of this window – though the injury may put a dent in the Blues' plans.

Kounde’s injury was something the team were aware of prior to the game, France boss Didier Deschamps confirmed, though the extent of his problem was not detailed after the match. 

"I knew very well his physical condition today. Tomorrow [Tuesday] he will have a [surgical] intervention because he has a problem that has been going on for several months," Deschamps said.

Capped 11 times by France, Kounde has established himself among the highest-rated young defenders in world football and shot to prominence during Sevilla's Europa League success in 2019-20. 

Utilised mainly as a central defender by his club side, Kounde's versatility has seen him feature regularly down the right for France. 

Les Bleus' defeat to Croatia in the Nations League capped off a woeful sequence for the defending champions, who sit rock bottom of group A1 without a win in their opening four matches – putting them at significant risk of relegation.

Didier Deschamps has told his France players to "clear their heads" after Les Bleus' dreadful Nations League title defence was ended by Croatia.

Luka Modric's fifth-minute penalty at the Stade de France earned Zlatko Dalic's side a 1-0 win on Monday, with Croatia gaining a measure of revenge for their 2018 World Cup final defeat.

The loss means France can no longer finish top of Group A1, and as such prevents them from qualifying for the Nations League finals and retaining their crown.

France are not in action again now until September, when their objective will be avoiding a humiliating relegation from the Nations League's top tier.

They certainly have work to do on that front as they sit bottom of the group after four games, having only mustered two draws and a couple of defeats this month.

Deschamps seemed to blame fatigue for France's struggles but also accepted the players of most other teams will have been in a comparable condition physically.

Speaking to TF1 at full-time, Deschamps said: "This month of June was very difficult in terms of results.

"We didn't have enough energy and strength against teams that had more than us. We weren't successful either. It was above all the freshness that was not there.

"There are always lessons to be learned with these results. Each match is rich in lessons.

"The succession of matches was very hard, we lost players from one match to another. No doubt that others nations were affected [by fatigue].

"[The players] will have to clear their heads and go back to their club and start again for this new season."

The defeat represented the first match since November 2020 in which France failed to score (23 games).

France can no longer successfully defend their Nations League crown after Monday's 1-0 home defeat to Croatia left the finals beyond their reach.

Didier Deschamps' side had flattered to deceive in their first three matches this month, losing once and drawing the other two, and they were no better against a stubborn Croatia at the Stade de France.

They proved to be their own worst enemy with a needless early penalty concession that Luka Modric took full advantage of five minutes in.

The hosts' performance was full of bluster but lacked subtlety, with clear-cut chances difficult to come by on another disappointing day for the reigning world champions.

Ibrahima Konate was the guilty party for the penalty as the Liverpool defender clumsily tripped Ante Budimir and, after a long VAR review, Modric just about squeezed his kick past Mike Maignan.

The game became frantic as Les Bleus desperately searched for a leveller, but Ivica Ivusic was not forced into a meaningful save until early in the second half when substitute Aurelien Tchouameni shot straight at the goalkeeper.

It was a sign of renewed purpose, however, and Kylian Mbappe saw a 30-yard strike go agonisingly wide a few moments later.

Yet, Croatia ended up creating the better chances in the closing stages, with Lovro Majer and Nikola Vlasic forcing saves from Maignan as the visitors gained a measure of revenge for their 2018 World Cup final loss.

Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe has asked the club to explain its "project" and what his role will be in it ahead of contract negotiations.

The 26-year-old started has become a central figure in PSG's first team, making 41 appearances across all competitions in the 2021-22 campaign.

However, it has been suggested that the French giants are in the market for a new centre-back, with Inter's Milan Skriniar rumoured to be on their radar.

In turn, Premier League side Chelsea – managed by former PSG boss Thomas Tuchel – are said to have expressed an interest in acquiring Kimpembe if they are unable to sign his France team-mate Jules Kounde from Sevilla.

Earlier this month, Kimpembe cast doubt on his future when saying it was a "key moment" in his career, with only two years left on his contract.

Some perceived it to be a hint that he was potentially angling for a move, and while he did look to clarify his comments on Sunday, Kimpembe reiterated the importance of knowing PSG's vision for him.

Speaking ahead of France's Nations League clash with Croatia on Monday, Kimpembe said: "I told PSG that I'm almost 27 years old, that my next contract will be decisive and that I wanted to know what the club's project was.

"I didn't say anything bad. I arrived at the club when I was 9-10 years old. I think it makes sense to ask what the future project is and what role I'll be given within it.

"But, at the moment, I'm focused on the French team and [Monday's] match to finish this season well."

 

N'Golo Kante and Lucas Hernandez have dropped out of the France squad ahead of Monday's Nations League showdown with Croatia.

France head into next week's match sitting bottom of Group A1 after following up a shock 2-1 home loss against Denmark with draws away to Croatia and Austria.

The reigning Nations League champions are four points behind leaders Denmark and two adrift of Austria and Croatia with three games remaining and only one team advancing.

Les Blues will be without central midfielder Kante and versatile defender Hernandez for the visit of Croatia at the Stade de France.

Kante misses out due to a knee injury, while Hernandez has been given permission to join his partner, who is due to give birth.

Neither player played any part in Friday's 1-1 draw against Austria, with Kylian Mbappe cancelling out Andreas Weimann's first-half opener in Vienna to salvage a late point.

Luis Enrique cited the struggles of France in the Nations League as debates continue as to the strength of Spain's World Cup credentials.

Spain play their final Nations League fixture of this window on Sunday, at home to Czech Republic, having picked up just five points from three games.

A pair of draws with Portugal and Czech Republic preceded a narrow 1-0 victory over strugglers Switzerland.

Luis Enrique defended his team selection and knowledge of football after the latter win, and the Spain coach again went on the front foot when asked about what La Roja's Nations League term meant for Qatar 2022.

"It's not about what I understand or don't understand. It's about looking at things with perspective. Nobody is interested in the other results of Group A," he told reporters. 

"If someone expects us to win every game then they do not know what modern football is.

"Look at the struggles of France, champion of the world and Nations League – we are not different. But we are a great team that can beat any rival, that's for sure."

As for who is the favourite for the World Cup, Luis Enrique finds it hard to look past two South American giants.

"I see Argentina above the rest and Brazil too, well above the rest," he added.

Alvaro Morata also came in for special praise from Luis Enrique, who believes the striker is the best defensive forward on the continent.

"All wingers can play as a nine. The strikers that I have brought not all of them can play as a winger," he continued.

"Morata can. I am not going to compare players but on a defensive level, no one beats Morata in Europe. He has an intelligence when it comes to pressing and physical conditions beyond any doubt.

"Then on top of that with the ball he has been very good, he has given us superiority. We want those who participate to know that they have an offensive side and another clear defensive one.

"With us if they don't do the defensive work, we can't be compact."

Didier Deschamps has backed Antoine Griezmann and N'Golo Kante to be at their best by the time the World Cup arrives, heading into Friday's Nations League clash with Austria.

After a disappointing spell at Barcelona, Griezmann's transfer back to Atletico Madrid did not translate into an immediate return to form, while experiencing fitness concerns for the first time.

In a career that has seen him mostly without injury, missing two games in 2019-20 with Barcelona, the 31-year-old missed 15 games with Atleti due to a combination of muscle injuries and Covid-19 enforced isolation.

With that in mind, though, Deschamps believes the talismanic attacker for Les Bleus will be back to his best.

"I know him well," Deschamps said. "He has often benefited more from playing for Les Bleus. It's not his best period.

"A part of it is physical, and a part of it mental. He suffered his first injury this season. I'm not saying he's worn out. I know his qualities and his mind too. He does not baulk.

"This is not his best period, but it does not mean that I question what he is capable of doing. I know very well what he can bring to the collective."

Along with Kylian Mbappe and Adrien Rabiot, also missing in Monday's draw to Croatia, Kante will miss Friday's game in Vienna due to lingering injury concerns.

The 31-year has sat extensive periods on the sidelines at club level over the past three seasons, with continual hamstring problems denying him from a consistent run of minutes at Chelsea.

After missing almost two months of football this past season, Deschamps concedes that Kante's fitness needs to be managed, but will hope to count on him.

"When he is at full capacity, any coach wants to see him in his team," the Les Bleus boss said. "In relation to the deadlines that are ours, let's make sure that he is in full possession of his means.

"Many players have accumulated seasons of 60 games. At some point, organisations suffer a little more. His coach at Chelsea [Thomas Tuchel] would like to have him a little more. You have to manage it. Him there, me here."

Luka Modric was relieved his 150th cap was not marked with a loss against a familiar foe, following Croatia's 1-1 draw with France in Split on Monday.

The home side equalised in the 83rd minute via Andrej Kramaric, who sent Mike Maignan the wrong way from the penalty spot, following Adrien Rabiot's goal in transition in the 52nd.

Following a disappointing second-half in their opening Nations League defeat to Austria, Croatia finished the stronger of the two teams following the introductions of Nikola Vlasic and Luka Sucic.

With the Vatreni having never beaten France at senior international level, including World Cup final and semi-final defeats, Modric was thankful his side could salvage a draw.

"Irrespective of the result, thank God we didn't lose," Modric said after the game. "But we can be content with the performance we displayed. We played well, compactly, bravely and that's what we were after.

"I think the players who came in gave us a new energy. They gave us a freshness and aggression, and in the end we scored, we can be pleased as a result. And if we scored with [Ante] Budimir's chance in the first half, the match might have gone in a different direction.

"Then again, we showed we can hold our own against France, for whoever you put in that team, they're always going to be competent, with enough players for three teams."

Playing in his native Dalmatia, Modric became the first player to ever receive 150 caps for Croatia on Monday, following their readmission as a nation by FIFA in 1992.

Also receiving a gift from the France team pre-match to mark the occasion, the 36-year-old was dignified in response.

"This is a phenomenal feeling," he said post-match. "I'm happy and proud that I was able to reach this achievement with Croatia. I really didn't expect this, but there you go, I'm very proud and happy to have done so.

"Thanks to the crowd for their reception. It's enough to make your hairs stand up. Thanks to them for that, and to the French and Deschamps for their gift. I didn't expect that either but it was a beautiful gesture from them."

Fielding an inexperienced side, Didier Deschamps insisted he will continue his search for optimal balance following France's 1-1 draw away to Croatia on Monday.

Following their opening Nations League defeat at home to Denmark, Les Bleus could only manage a point at the Poljud, with Andrej Kramaric equalising from the penalty spot following Adrien Rabiot's opening goal.

Deschamps went back to 4-4-2 after the opting for a 3-5-2 against Denmark, with several starting players under 10 caps including Moussa Diaby, Matteo Guendouzi, Christopher Nkunku and William Saliba.

With that relative lack of experience in mind, Deschamps was buoyant following his side's performance against the other 2018 World Cup finalist.

"We had overall control with two chances for 2-0 but we conceded a few too many situations to this Croatian team at the end," he said post-game. "The lines were stretched, but it was consistent overall. We could also have avoided the loss of possession at times. I can't be completely satisfied even though there are a lot more positives.

"We must also take into account the merit of the opponent. We also gave them the opportunity to equalise with this penalty. There are also all the changes at the end of the match. There were less than 200 caps in the team selected against Croatia. This is no excuse, but there are fewer automatisms."

The Vatreni finished the stronger of the two sides in Split, with chances falling to Luka Sucic and Nikola Vlasic upon their introductions.

France ended the game with a cumulative xG of 0.69 from seven shots in comparison to Croatia's 1.55 from eight, speaking to their growing inability to turn possession into something substantial in front of goal.

With one point out of a possible six, Deschamps insisted that while Les Bleus are not out of Nations League calculations, November's World Cup in Qatar requires experimentation in preparation for their title defence.

"We are in contention," he said after the match. "But with one point out of six, we are not in the best of moods. They are also preparation matches in anticipation of what awaits us at the end of the year. You have to see different things, different players and different systems.

"There were a lot of forced changes with worries and injuries. Compared to my starting lineup, I still have the same concern to put each player in the best conditions.

"We can always improve in defensive animation, but we can have problems with three, four or five [in defence]. I'm not frozen for the next game. But that doesn't mean I'm going to give up. I want to have more answers."

Andrej Kramaric's VAR-assisted penalty snatched a late 1-1 draw for Croatia against France to deny Les Bleus a first win of the new Nations League campaign.

Adrien Rabiot's strike shortly after the break looked to have fired the visitors to victory in Group A1, in what was a rematch of the Russia 2018 World Cup final won by France.

But the hosts were able to take a share of the spoils in Split with the aid of VAR. Referee Marco Guida's decision to award a penalty for Jonathan Clauss' clumsy challenge on Kramaric was initially kiboshed by the linesman's flag but a review showed Luka Sucic had been onside when receiving Mislav Orsic's pass in the build-up.

Kramaric duly converted with seven minutes remaining at Stadion Poljud to inject a degree of late drama into a game otherwise marked by cagey performances, particularly across a first half that had struggled to burst into life.

Having slipped to an opening loss in their title defence against Demark on Friday, Didier Deschamps rung the changes for this clash, with all but one face swapped out.

With fearsome talents like Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema benched, though, it took until after the interval for the deadlock to be broken.

Seizing onto a terrific ball from Wissam Ben Yedder, midfielder Rabiot steered a superb finish above Dominik Livakovic and into the top-left corner.

That had looked to possibly be enough for the visitors, even as Luka Modric - on his 150th appearance for his country - had helped push for an equaliser.

Kramaric's late intervention, however, proved a return blow, and the two sides ultimately were forced to settle for a point.

William Saliba has said he wants to show Arsenal his "true face" next season.

The France international has still not played for the Gunners since his transfer from Saint-Etienne in 2019, reportedly worth around £27million (€31.5m).

Loan moves with Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille have followed, but now the 21-year-old centre back is eager to finally show his parent club what they bought three years ago, although he admits he does not know if the Premier League club still want him.

Speaking to Telefoot, Saliba said: "I belong to Arsenal, I still have two years left [on my contract].

"I will be back with Arsenal. I have played zero matches and I still want to show them my true face and have the chance to play for these fans and this great club.

"But it doesn't just depend on me. In any case, to leave like this, would be a shame."

Saliba enjoyed a strong 2021-22 season at Marseille, finishing second in Ligue 1 and reaching the semi-finals of the inaugural Europa Conference League.

He played 36 games in Ligue 1, keeping 13 clean sheets, and attempted 490 passes more than any other player in the French top flight (3,044), completing 599 more than anyone else (2,834).

Asked to describe his campaign in one word, he said: "Surprising, or magical. It's my first full season. I was keen to show who I really am. It's a very positive assessment and really I'm very happy with my season.

"And that's why I had this little lump in my stomach saying to myself: 'Here you go to a club and you mustn't laugh, you mustn't have fun, you must play every game thoroughly.'

"It's as if I stayed at least two or three years, it's really special. Even if I don't come back to Marseille, I'll never forget. Thanks to OM, I spent a great course in my career and it was they who boosted me."

Didier Deschamps has handed Liverpool centre-back Ibrahima Konate his first call-up to the France senior squad as a replacement for Raphael Varane.

Manchester United defender Varane sustained a hamstring injury during Les Bleus' 2-1 Nations League defeat to Denmark on Friday, and has had to withdraw from the squad ahead of the next three games.

Kylian Mbappe was also forced off with a knee problem at half-time in the game at the Stade de France, with assistant coach Guy Stephan saying the Paris Saint-Germain star would be assessed.

Konate has had an impressive first season at Liverpool after joining the Premier League side from RB Leipzig last year.

The 23-year-old made 29 appearances in all competitions for Jurgen Klopp's side in 2021-22, scoring three goals and helping to keep 10 clean sheets.

Konate also started the Champions League final against Real Madrid, which Liverpool lost 1-0, and that was the first game in which Konate had played that the Reds were defeated.

France play away to Croatia on Monday, before further games away to Austria and then the return game against Croatia.

Karim Benzema has decided to drop his appeal against a one-year suspended sentence handed out after he was found guilty of complicity in the attempted blackmail of Mathieu Valbuena, his lawyer has said.

The Real Madrid striker was handed the sentence along with a €75,000 fine back in November over an extortion case that dated back to 2015 in relation to a sex tape, and saw him exiled from the France national team until his recall last year.

Benzema, who has consistently denied the accusations, was one of five people who stood trial in a case that rocked French football, and it was initially reported he would appeal against the verdict with the hearing set to have taken place over June 30 and July 1.

The 34-year-old's lawyer, Hugues Vigier, told L'Equipe that his client will withdraw the appeal but will continue to maintain his innocence.

"My client is worn out by this process,” he said. "This withdrawal endorses a ruling of condemnation and apparently guilt. It is a judicial truth. 

"But this is not the reality. Karim Benzema will always claim his innocence in this case and he never wanted to participate in a blackmail operation against Mathieu Valbuena."

Benzema had been accused of helping the four other men blackmail former Les Bleus team-mate Valbuena over an intimate video that had been taken from Valbuena's mobile phone.

He had originally been expected to attend the Versailles court himself at the appeal. French agency AFP reported that the Versailles court of appeal will notify the relevant parties of the withdrawal order on Tuesday.

Benzema was on target as France were beaten 2-1 by Denmark in the Nations League on Friday.

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