Didier Deschamps has ominously declared that World Cup 2018 winners France still hold “ambitions” to sweep all before them.
Deschamps, 50, last July became only the third person in history to lift the game’s premier trophy as both player and manager when Les Bleus defeated Croatia 4-2.
This success – to follow on from the nation’s original triumph on home soil 20 years previously – was gained with a swathe of young players, such as Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba and Paris Saint-Germain wonder kid Kylian Mbappe. Speaking on Wednesday at the 13th Dubai International Sports Conference, the head coach was in no mood to stop there with this ‘Golden Generation’.
“It is always difficult when you are with the national team,” he said on a panel at Madinat Jumeirah alongside his key player Blaise Matuidi and Brazil icon Ronaldo. “We have now the Euros to look forward to.
“We are so proud we won World Cup 2018. Last summer, I was privileged to win it twice.
“We still have ambitions. The Euros are up next and then the World Cup in Qatar is an objective.”
France headed to Russia with the joint-second-youngest-average age – with semi-finalists England – of 26. Only Nigeria with 25.9-years old was less.
The 103-cap Deschamps believed that the current national team was benefiting from the “peculiarity” in Ligue 1 that massive transfer spending – champions Paris Saint-Germain aside – was absent, with the clubs’ modest budgets forcing an emphasis on youth investments.
He said: “It is true that France is recognised worldwide for the excellent training work and quality of the players. The French Football Federation also attaches huge importance to training of players.
“To have such talented players, you need them to be educated and surrounded by good coaches. This will allow them to move up.
“This is the reality for French football. Except for PSG, all clubs must go to their academy.
“The peculiarity in French football is that the young players can play more rapidly than players in Germany or other countries. When they have the quality, 17-year olds can start in the first or second division.
“In Italy, they would start much later, unless the player is exceptional. It is usually 21 or 22.”
Energetic Juventus veteran Matuidi, 31, was sure that success would not go to his team-mates’ heads.
He said: We can say that things change slightly because we are champions of the world. But we remain with the same goals to go further – even though I can now say I’m getting a bit old.”
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