France coach search intensifies

The French Football Federation will hope to make progress on Tuesday in their search for a successor to former Les Bleus coach Laurent Blanc.

Football News: Karim Benzema, Laurent Blanc

Blanc at the weekend announced he had decided against renewing his contract with the FFF after presiding over a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign which saw France exit at the quarter-final stage to eventual winners Spain.

Didier Deschamps was immediately installed as favourite to succeed Blanc and he appeared a shoo-in when it was announced on Monday he had left his post at Marseille by mutual consent.

Yet reports in France this morning suggest Deschamps, having met with the FFF, has decided against coaching the country he captained to World Cup 1998 and Euro 2000 success.

That news came as a blow with at least one executive committee member, Nancy president Jacques Rousselot, backing Deschamps for the post.

Rousselot said: "He is hardworking, competent, has great leadership qualities and is a great tactician.

"He also has a good reputation. He has it all."

It has also been reported Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger pondered combining the two roles before he too ruled himself out.

The executive committee will re-assess their options at their headquarters in Paris.

Oman boss Paul Le Guen has emerged as a contender, as has Francis Smerecki, who has worked extensively with France youth teams.

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