Deschamps: I needed to protect Pogba

France boss Didier Deschamps admits he needed to calm down Paul Pogba and ensure he avoided a suspension for the World Cup semi-final.

Goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann secured a final four meeting with neighbours Belgium for France after they comfortably overcame Uruguay 2-0.

However, there was a scare for Deschamps during the second half when both sets of players clashed after an apparent dive from Kylian Mbappe.

Pogba was at the heart of it and Deschamps was concerned that the Manchester United midfielder would receive a yellow card, which would have seen him banned for the semi-final.

“Things got a bit heated and he had a yellow card and I didn’t want him to lose his temper and get a booking for not a lot,” Deschamps said.

“That’s what I told all the players – if we go through and get two yellows, and [Olivier] Giroud and [Blaise] Matuidi got their cards [earlier in the tournament] for their gestures, certain words, it’s completely unnecessary. You can’t be provocative and fall for provocations.”

Deschamps was delighted by the performance of his side and feels they have improved as the tournament has gone on.

He added: “We’ve improved points on balance since the last match and all these games are important to build confidence. We’re playing a big football nation like Uruguay and this gives us strength.

“We controlled the game, especially in the second half, we didn’t give chances to the opposition. The few mistakes we made were not things that couldn’t be recovered.”

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