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Pogba urged to keep calm

16 Jun 2014 10:32:18

Pogba urged to keep calm

France midfielder Paul Pogba will head into the rest of the World Cup with express instructions not to lose his cool or react to provocation.

Les Bleus won their Group E opener against Honduras 3-0 at a canter but the evening may have played out rather differently had Juventus star Pogba been red carded with the game still goalless.

The 21-year-old reacted to extreme provocation by Wilson Palacios by kicking out from the floor and it looked as though referee Sandro Ricci was considering sending the Frenchman off.

As it was he settled for cautioning both players, with Palacios then seeing red when he fouled Pogba in the penalty area to tee up France's opening goal.

With bad tackles continuing to fly in, manager Didier Deschamps substituted Pogba before the hour mark and several team-mates were on hand with words of advice.

Deschamps said: "He suffered a foul and there was a gesture of reaction...I did not warn him but (Yohan) Cabaye and (Patrice) Evra did, to tell him it was forbidden for us to finish with 10 men.

"We must have control, and that is not just relevant to Paul."

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was another senior colleague who took the time to counsel Pogba.

The Tottenham goalkeeper was also pleased that Ricci appeared to take Palacios' part in the incident into account.

"We all had a word for Paul at half-time," Lloris told L'Equipe.

"He is still young ...(but) the message before the game was not to succumb to provocation.

"The referee has shown intelligence. These games are decided on the details and they turned in our favour this time."

With Franck Ribery missing the tournament through injury, Deschamps was particularly pleased with the form of two-goal striker Karim Benzema, Antoine Griezmann and Mathieu Valbuena.

"I chose an offensive line with the mobility to deal with an athletic challenge, it took time before exercising the opponent but Mathieu, Karim and Antoine have very good things and their ground game helped destabilise Honduras.

"But there is no particular euphoria because it is the first match and the players know that the road is long. This is a first step."

Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez appeared to acknowledge the overtly aggressive manner his side approached France with is unlikely to yield rewards.

He called on them to learn from their struggles with 10 men ahead of their next match with Ecuador on Friday.

"There are certain aspects that we'll need to improve ahead of our next game," he said.

"We'll need to retain the lessons we learned today. If it had been 11 against 11 throughout, we might have done better, but that's football.

"We have to put what's happened behind us and work towards our next match, which is going to be just as tricky."


PA

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