World champions France out to end 2018 on a high

France’s fine year threatened to fizzle out with defeat to the Netherlands, but Didier Deschamps is now targeting victory against Uruguay.

Didier Deschamps is determined France will finish 2018 on a high against Uruguay, even if the World Cup winners’ Nations League fate is out of their hands.

Les Bleus became world champions for the second time as they defeated Croatia at Russia 2018, yet they have struggled to build on that triumph.

Although France cannot be relegated in UEFA’s new competition, they must rely on already-relegated Germany to beat Netherlands on Monday in order to reach next year’s Finals.

The Dutch side defeated France last week and Deschamps acknowledges it was tough to take at the end of a successful 12 months.

“This match was wrong in all ways, but we have the opportunity to finish the year on a good note,” he told a news conference ahead of facing Uruguay.

“What happened to us happened to many teams that went far at the World Cup. We could not prevent it. We were beaten by a very good Netherlands team and it was difficult to find any positives.

“I do not hide that I would like a Germany win. I will be watching in front of my TV as this game will have consequences for us.”

Deschamps will have the distraction of Tuesday’s friendly to prepare for, yet he does not believe Uruguay will be chasing revenge after losing to France in Russia.

“This is a team that does not give up anything, with [Luis] Suarez and [Edinson] Cavani up front,” he added.

“It’s not about revenge; the context is different. For them, too, it’s the last game of the year so they’ll be keen to put in a good performance.”

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was overworked in Friday’s defeat, but the captain believes France can learn from their tough outing.

“We talked to each other and the coach analysed the game the next day,” Lloris said. “The best way to bounce back is to have a good game and finish our year in style.

“I do not think we took the game lightly. The Netherlands put in a great performance and they showed us that, if we do not respect the fundamentals and we are not ready to duel and fight, it is difficult.

“When this happens, it’s hard to come back in a game and it’s going to be a useful lesson for the future.”

Comments