Didier Deschamps on World Cup knockout rounds: “Now begins a second competition.”

Speaking to TF1 in the wake of France’s group stage loss to Tunisia, Didier Deschamps recognised that Les Bleus experienced some difficulties this afternoon, but that the revamped starting lineup would allow some of the team’s substitutes to get a taste for World Cup action.

His words transcribed by RMC, the manager first expressed his confusion at the late decision to disallow Antoine Griezmann’s late equaliser for offside, and insisted that Les Bleus would have the deserved the draw. He then moved on to an analysis of France’s overall performance and the prospect of attacking the knockout rounds:

“We had some difficulties through the choices that I made. It should help us in four days. Some players were at risk [of injury] and we had just played two high-intensity matches. It allowed the substitutes to see the difference [in quality] in a World Cup match. We’ve reached the objective, we’re going to recover, now begins a second competition.”

Despite the loss, Les Bleus end the group stage campaign on top, and are now set to play the second-placed side of Group C next Sunday. Didier Deschamps and his side will know their opponent at the end of tonight’s matches, with Poland facing Argentina and Saudi Arabia taking on Mexico.


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