France keep faith with World Cup-winning squad for Nations League games

France keep faith with World Cup-winning squad for Nations League games

Didier Deschamps has suggested he will not change the style that won France the World Cup this summer as Les Bleus embark on their UEFA Nations League campaign.

France face Germany in Munich on Sept. 6 then face Netherlands in Paris three days later in their first matches since lifting the World Cup in Russia.

Deschamps was criticised for a perceived functional style of play at the World Cup, with both Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois unhappy following Belgium’s semifinal exit.

“Should I change just to please my critics?” Deschamps said.

“The results proved me right, but the critics are always there. I’m here to make choices, take decisions, I assume those. It wasn’t a coincidence that we won, we weren’t always at our best, but it’s all about the final result. The most important thing is being clinical: clinical in attacking and defending. And in that regard, we were better than all the others in that competition, but that doesn’t mean the team won’t change.

“They know very well that the top level is about keeping high standards throughout every competition. If their level isn’t as good, and there are players that didn’t go, but could come in, I’ll do that. It won’t be copy-and-paste every time. It’ll evolve, I’m not fixed on that 23, even if I won’t take away from them the fact that they have done very good things together.”

Deschamps has made only a minor tweak to his squad, with goalkeeper Benoit Costil replacing the injured Steve Mandanda, completing the three-man goalkeeping contingent still headed by Hugo Lloris. The Tottenham No. 1 was arrested on Aug. 24 and charged with drink driving.

“I’ve talked to him; I’m not going to make much of it. He’s sorry for what happened, he’s apologised, he knows that shouldn’t happen, but it did, but it changes nothing of what I think of him,” Deschamps said.

“I try to make them aware of that, but they’re all responsible for themselves, they’re not children, I’m not a teacher, it’s not a playground. It’s up to them to handle that, and be careful.”

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris, Alphonse Areola, Benoit Costil

Defenders: Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe, Benjamin Mendy, Benjamin Pavard, Adil Rami, Djibril Sidibe, Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane

Midfielders: N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Steven Nzonzi, Paul Pogba, Corentin Tolisso

Forwards: Ousmane Dembele, Nabil Fekir, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar, Kylian Mbappe, Florian Thauvin

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