Deschamps cannot hide World Cup draw delight

06 December 2013 08:16

France coach Didier Deschamps could not conceal his glee after seeing his side scoop Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras in Friday's World Cup draw in Costa do Sauipe.

While England were paired with Italy and Uruguay and Spain saw the Netherlands and Chile drop into their section, France's Group E was widely seen as one of the kinder draws.

And although Deschamps refrained from openly rejoicing in his team's good fortune, he could not help a beaming smile crossing his lips as he answered questions about his team's draw.

"It's always difficult to talk about a draw but it's true, I won't hide it from you, it could have been tougher," said the former Juventus and Marseille coach.

"Now we know our opponents; there are our friends and neighbours Switzerland, a South American team in Ecuador and then Honduras, which is Central America but their football is similar to that in South America.

"Like all my fellow coaches there was this worry, even though they are beautiful areas, of playing in the north of Brazil, where the temperatures are very high."

France will start with Honduras in the south of the country in Porto Alegre on June 15, before going north to Salvador to tackle Switzerland on June 20, and then returning to their base camp in Rio de Janeiro for the final group match against Ecuador on June 25.

France's first match is, on paper, their easiest but Deschamps will not be taking it lightly.

"Our first match is on June 15 against Honduras and I won't hide it from you, it's the most important one.

"If we win it we'll be off to the best start."

Given the draw, Deschamps admitted there is no reason not to aim for a run to the latter stages of the competition.

"These are World Cup matches, there are no easy opponents," he said, briefly returning to the expected diplomatic line adopted by almost everyone.

"We have to go there with ambition, which is reasonable.

"Other countries begin the competition with the possibility of winning it.

"Right now, both before and after the draw, our sporting objective is to qualify for the last 16. We'll do our utmost to achieve that."

Deschamps, though, couldn't escape the subject of luck.

"All I have is luck," he said with a little dig at his detractors in the French press.

"I spent a few days with (Spain coach) Vicente del Bosque and hearing from his mouth that technique, tactics, talent, intelligence, yes, they're important, but you also need luck.

"If that's what he says, then I'd like to believe him."

Former France striker Jean-Pierre Papin said luck wasn't enough to guarantee success, though.

Although he played during a generation when France could boast talents such as Eric Cantona and David Ginola, Papin featured in only one World Cup, in 1986, as his country failed to qualify for the 1990 and 1994 tournaments.

"We're lucky, that's good. It's not worse to fall into a manageable group but we still have to win the matches," he said, alluding to some recent failures on the part of the French to do just that in seemingly easy groups in Japan and South Korea in 2002 and South Africa three years ago, not to mention his own team's failure in his playing days to qualify for the 1994 World Cup when they humiliatingly lost their final two qualifying matches at home to Israel and Bulgaria.

"It's good to have this draw but in the last 16, where, make no mistake, the level will be high, it will be very difficult."

Source: AFP