N’Golo Kante sent Les Bleus to the semi-finals of the competition at a time when several stars are struggling to form
Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Raphael Varane are among the French stars who have had a muted start to the 2020-21 season, while Deschamps’ plans were further interrupted by the withdrawal of Kylian Mbappe after the Paris Saint striker -Germain has not recovered. injury in time for Saturday’s game.
Earlier in the week, Deschamps admitted that Pogba’s struggles at Man Utd had “mentally impacted” him.
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The Blues nevertheless managed to defeat Portugal, the first Nations League champion, and to advance to the semi-finals with one game to lose, N’Golo Kante’s goal sealing a tense 1-0 victory in Lisbon.
And Deschamps was delighted to see how his men overcame their club conflict to defend their country.
“It’s great to see players like that, to come out and win here. This victory is deserved, with a lot of solidarity, also of quality ”, explained the coach. TF1 after the final whistle.
“We achieved our goal, we wanted to finish first. Whatever happens in the last game, we will stay first. It’s good to achieve our goals, I’m very proud of the players.
“It’s not always easy, especially in these complicated times. Some have club situations that are not the best. But when they find themselves here, there is always that competitive spirit and tonight they have proven that the France team is still a great team.
“Given the quality of the opponent, this is obviously a benchmark match. I’m not talking about the one we played three days ago against Finland but in a game like today there’s less need to warn them of the goal. They prefer to play these matches but the group is there and present. They have proven that the state of mind is still there. ”
Varane added to TF1: “We are happy with the victory and the way [we played]. We had the right spirit of solidarity. We could have scored in the first half. We had chances but we were strong and united because they were dangerous in the air. They managed to put the danger in front of the goal but we responded.
“The four finals were the goal from the start. We wanted to win to qualify, but above all in style. We are really satisfied tonight. It’s our benchmark game in recent months, we’ve seen it all, good stuff, good combinations, good defense all together.
“We can rely on that to project ourselves towards the next goal. ”
France closed their home group commitments on Tuesday against Sweden, which must at least match Croatia’s result against Portugal to avoid relegation from first place in the Nations League.