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Clairefontaine Press Conference 6: World Cup Preparation

In what was almost certainly the final press conference before the squad fly out to Brazil, Didier Deschamps and Hugo Lloris looked to move on from the disappointing injury news that dominated the previous conference and turned their attention to the various options available throughout the rest of the squad. Coming on the eve of Les Bleus’ final warm-up match against Jamaica, both interviewees briefly commented on their upcoming opponents as expected but their focus clearly lies elsewhere with the big kickoff in Brazil just around the corner.


Hugo Lloris:

On the Jamaica match: ‘It’s the home straight now, it’s important that we finish our preparations with a good win.’

‘We all want the World Cup to start now but this match is still important.’

‘Of course, the most important thing is the Honduras match but the Jamaica friendly will allow us to get into a rhythm.’

‘We do pay close attention to friendly results, but they are just friendlies after all.’

On the injuries: ‘We’ve had a rough time with the injuries to Clement [Grenier] and Franck [Ribery] but we need to move on from that starting with tomorrow’s match.’

‘The best response to Ribery’s injury will be a collective one. Franck had a big role to play, of course, he’s a great player.’

‘Even though we remained positive and were all behind him, we had already considered the possibility of him being injured and so it doesn’t change our ambitions one bit.’

On the squad: ‘We have a squad full of youngsters. Yes, you need experience at the World Cup but above all you need hunger and toughness.’

On Varane: ‘Varane isn’t like other players, he’s young but he’s just won the Champions League.’

On the potential World Cup winners: ‘My favourites? Spain, Germany and Brazil all have real quality in the way they play.’


Didier Deschamps:

On the importance of experience in a squad: ‘Experience is a key factor in the final tournament but youth offers its own qualities with added enthusiasm and exuberance.’

‘The big nations have squads full of players with over 50 caps.’

On the injuries: ‘In Franck we’re losing a world class player but even with him the squad was still young. This group have an objective and we’re aiming to achieve it without them [the injured players].’

‘Yesterday, I certainly wasn’t going to talk about the injuries with a smile on my face. It’s tough for them but I have to focus on the 23 players that are here. Life goes on, I’m only human.’

On his side’s system: ‘We have our preferred style of play [the 4-3-3] but we can change our approach based on the opposition and the scoreline.’

‘In my mind we have lots of different options within the squad. What Giroud offers, for example, is very interesting.’

On the replacements coming into the first XI: ‘Both Griezmann and Remy offer very different qualities from one another so I can alter our approach.’

On the squad as a whole: ‘I have a good feeling about the group, they’re focused and working hard. We’ll see where they are to a certain extent in tomorrow’s match but the important thing is the following Sunday.’

‘There’s plenty of competition in certain areas. I know I can count on both Bacary Sagna and Mathieu Debuchy.’

On using two strikers: ‘I have the option of playing with both Benzema and Giroud, merging their qualities and not relying too much on either one.’

On Benzema: ‘Today I have no worries about Benzema, he’s fine. He’s a world class player but I can’t ask for something extra special from him, he just needs to play like he knows how. He scores and makes goals and I’m not going to ask too much of him.’

‘When Karim is playing well, he raises everyone’s game. Yes, the worry of injury is always there but it’s not worth thinking about.’

On Honduras: ‘They’re quick up front and like to sit back a lot.’

On Jamaica: ‘Jamaica offer plenty of aggression in their play. The difficult thing is not to lose stability when moving from attack to defence.’


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